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Undercover Work

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Undercover Work and The Beginning
Undercover work has been a big controversial topic in policing. Being undercover is disguising one's own identity or using an assumed identity for the purposes of gaining the trust of an individual or organization to learn secret information or to gain the trust of targeted individuals in order to gain information or evidence. Traditionally it is a technique employed by law enforcement agencies around the world and a person who works in such a role is commonly referred to as an undercover agent.

Undercover has been used in many ways throughout history. The first organized undercover program was employed in France by Eugene Francois Vidocq in the early 19th century. The English set up the Special Irish Branch (later to be named just Special Branch) in 1883 and in the United States the ‘Italian’ Squad was set up in 1906 before different federal agencies started to run their own undercover programs.

The controversy of undercover work begins with the risk the agent or officer has to take with doing undercover work. The two biggest risk are the roles the undercover agent plays and their return back to normal duties. Living a double life in a new environment can pose many problems. Undercover work is one of the most stressful jobs a special agent can participate or be involved in. Most of the stress comes from being away from family, friends, and the new environment that they probably aren't accustomed to. This isolation can lead to depression and anxiety. Like being a police officer, the divorce rate for undercover agents are very high. This could occurred because of the secrecy and privacy of their work. The stress can lead to them having many personal problems. Problems such as, alcohol and drug abuse. And because of the nature of their job, they will be in contact with a lot of corrupt things. Some being organized crimes and other legal acts which in turn increases the likelihood of corruption. The agents stress can cloud the direction of their work oe even when they work will be complete. Unlike other areas in law enforcement, undercover work is one of the most difficult to reintegrate back into normal duties. They choose their own hours, they have a lot more freedom with little supervision, and they have no dress rules to follow. So the resettling back into the normal police role requires the shedding of old habits, language and dress. After working such free lifestyles, agents may have discipline problems or the responses officers have before going undercover. They may feel uncomfortable, and take a cynical, suspicious or even paranoid world view and feel continually on guard.

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