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Creating a Narcotics Resume

Gaining an appointment as a narcotics detective can be highly competitive.  Many Departments either don't post openings or don't solicit resumes from members that are interested in the position.  This leads to political appointments of officers that are either under qualified or not qualified at all. 

There are advantages to taking a rookie fresh out of the Academy and putting him into the Narcotics Unit.  Unknown officers can be successfully used as under covers (UC's) without much fear of being recognized.  If the officer is young enough he may also be utilized in the High Schools.  From a tactical standpoint, it would be prudent to chose an officer who has years of street experience, is familiar with the targets and the escape routes of the area.

In my Department appointments were political and unfortunately I was not one of the chosen ones.  It took many years and a few grievance to achieve my goal of being assigned to the County's Narcotic Task Force.  I was caught in the Catch 22 of not having the training and of them not being willing to send me for it. 


Look around in your area, check the local Academy, DEA, MAGLOCEN and contact the different agencies to find out when the next classes are and how much they cost.  Once you locate a class you want to attend, put in a written request.  If your request is denied, ask for the reason.  Usually it is either that there is "no money in the budget" or it will cause a "manpower shortage".  The reasoning will dictate your course of action.  If there will be a manpower shortage, make arrangements with a buddy to cover your shift.  If there is no money in the budget, volunteer to pay for it yourself if they will give you the time off.  There are free classes available, you just have to find them.  Seminars are very informative and make good "mini vacations", besides, its a tax write off and you are worth the investment.

When you return from the class, bring back literature and write a brief outline for the Chief so he can see what you have learned.  Be sure to give a copy of your certificate to your training officer to receive proper credit.  You may be pleasantly surprised the next time you put in for a school, they may approve it .

These courses are free and include lodging and meals:

Drug Training Classes in the Northeast

Drug Training Classes in the Midwest


There are numerous ways to gather experience while in the patrol division, get creative. 


"Crack" houses are easy to locate.  The neighbors usually report them to the Department and anyone else who will listen.  Frequently the neighbors will be willing to collect tags and log the times that vehicles stop at the residence.   Drug activity nearly ceases while the dealer is waiting for a shipment, so look for the slow down in activity and then note the next five cars that arrive after it.  There is a good chance that the first one is the delivery and the others are picking up the large quantities. 

Developing a good rapport in the neighborhood will allow you to make these contacts.  The "leg work" is very important in cultivating a successful investigation.  You can do the leg work of gathering the tags, running them, adding dates and times, and assembling them into a report.  You can go a step further and gather arrest information on the traffickers which will be helpful in developing potential informants. You can then turn the information over to the Narcotics Task Force Commander, with a copy to the Chief.  This will not only prove your abilities, but show that you are a Team player.


Informants are used in all areas of investigations.  The difference between an "informant" and a "witness" is that one comes forward while the other remains anonymous and needs a little incentive. 

It is not uncommon to have charges dropped against a potential informant in exchange for his/her willingness to "cooperate".  The patrol officer can also develop informants through the use of his discretion, prior to bringing charges.


Tactical/Dynamic entry is critical in the execution of search warrants.  There are many schools that offer dynamic entry training.  This can be used in the "Daddy Roundups".  It is used for the recovery of stolen property.  You can find these schools across a broad range of categories.  Your Department may also offer them.  If not check with neighboring Departments. This would be a very good free source of training and when there volunteer to assist them in the execution of search warrants in their municipality. Very frequently, Departments share resources.

Writing a Search Warrant is not difficult.  Ask the Narcotics Task Force Commander for a copy of one for you to review.  Search Warrants can also be obtained for any investigation which requires the searching of someones property.  They are frequently used to recover stolen property, this is an easy way to gain the experience you need in this area.

Become familiar with the laws governing obtaining and executing search warrants.  (visit our Case Law Library)


This is a very important area to the Narcotics Officer, however, you will be surprised at how few officers are proficient in the identification of illegal narcotics.  It is important to be able to identify the drugs, know which schedule they are on and what the appropriate charge should be.

Narcotic Educational Foundation of America

It is helpful to talk with a lab technician at your local hospital who may be able to assist you in this area.


Now you can successfully assemble a "resume" to submit as a "Letter of Interest" the next time an opening is posted.  If your Department does not post openings, submit it once every six months to all supervisors and don't forget to update it.

Dear Chief:

        Please accept this letter as my interest in the position of narcotics detective posted on (date).  I feel that I am qualified for this position and will be a valuable asset to the unit for the following reasons: 


               MAGLOCEN Drug Conference (date & location)
                (brief description)

                FBI Training - Dynamic Entry (date & location)

            (brief description)

                List the database that you use for drug identification


                List the cases you have worked that involve the detection
                of drugs.

              List the investigation that you conducted the "leg work" on and turned over to the Task Force with a copy to the Chief.

         Search Warrants:

          I have read and made myself familiar with the applicable statutes (list) and case law that pertain to this area. 

           List any Search Warrants which you participated in regardless of whether it involved narcotics.


      I am experienced in working informants and have developed several informants during the course of my patrol duties.  Same are willing to make control buys at my direction.

         It is for all the above reasons that I respectfully request to be considered for the narcotics detective position.
                                            Respectfully submitted:

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