Technical Investigative Techniques
Technical investigative techniques are also referred to as “sophisticated and sensitive”
techniques. They are the most intrusive techniques available to law enforcement offi-
cers. Virtually all investigative techniques invade a person’s privacy to a certain extent.
Some, such as interviews and the polygraph, are overt and direct. Others, such as sur-
veillance and informants, are secretive and unobtrusive. Still others, such as trash covers
and pretext telephone calls, are deceitful. Technical techniques go a step further because
they invade aspects of a person’s life intended to be private and personal. For this rea-
son, the government and courts severely restrict the use of these techniques. In most
instances, they cannot be employed until other, less intrusive techniques have been
attempted and have failed to produce satisfactory results. The primary exception to this
rule involves life-and-death emergencies, such as a kidnapping, airplane hijacking, or
serious threat to commit an act of mass destruction.