Special Operations

Due to the sensitive nature of many of the investigations they undertake, the work of the Special Operations Unit is rarely brought to the public's attention. A low profile is desirable and imperative for a team whose principle job is investigating organized crime. 

Organized crime refers to those criminals who organize their various illegal activities, compared to those who commit crimes randomly. Illegal enterprises and vice operations such as narcotics, gambling, public corruption, prostitution, pornography, murder for hire, criminal street gangs, liquor law violators, and many other crimes may, depending on their degree of organization, be included under the umbrella term "organized crime."

The primary duty of the Special Operations Unit is to investigate every aspect of narcotics and dangerous drug violations, from street-level dealers to national distributors. Pickens County has large wilderness areas conducive to the manufacture of methamphetamines and the illegal cultivation of marijuana. Narcotics investigations entail using undercover agents, informants, search warrants, surveillance, and purchasing illegal drugs, generating hundreds of man-hours of work and reams of legal paper. 

Cases don't end when the violator is arrested; agents often spend many hours in court long after arrests are made. While all illegal drugs can cause problems in our community, the drug that has had the most significant impact is methamphetamine. Whether it's the drug abuser who commits property crimes to fund their next high, the "cook" who manufactures the drug using dangerous chemicals that pollute the environment and endangers innocent people, or the dealers, large and small, that attract unwanted criminal activity to their neighborhoods. Methamphetamine has affected a large portion of our community in one way or another, thus making it a top priority. 

Agents also spend their time investigating crimes that are gang-related. The operations of criminal street gangs often cross into the illegal enterprises investigated by the Special Operations Unit. Therefore, agents work to identify, catalog, and evaluate gangs that inhabit and/or operate within Pickens County. 

Agents also conduct presentations on gang awareness and prevention to the general public upon request. Deputies are selected to become agents based on the following attributes: experience, education, training, maturity, ability to work with a minimum of supervision, report writing skills, and initiative. After selection into the unit, they attend formal schooling geared toward narcotics officers. Throughout their assignment in Special Operations, they will continue to participate in additional training classes, schools, and seminars.

Most narcotics cases are self-initiated by the agent, revealing investigative skills that show them to be individuals who get the job done.
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