Covert Surveillance for Narcotics and Task Force Units

This three day training program designed for law enforcement officers who use stationary, vehicle and foot surveillance as part of investigations. The course is designed to provide the participants with the skills to safely conduct and properly document surveillance activities.

This course consists of a 4 hour classroom presentation followed by six field surveillance exercises over the next 2 ½ days.  The focus will be on proper equipment, techniques, terminology, decision making, communications, and planning to avoid detection.

Topics will be taught by a team of instructors who have decades of law enforcement experience conducting covert surveillance in narcotics cases.  Lecture, videos, and real-life examples will be used in the classroom portion. Open discussion and student interaction during the course will be encouraged. This class assumes no previous surveillance experience or training, and therefore the initial four hours will focus on the basics of techniques and terminology.  The next 20 hours will sharpen the participant’s knowledge and skills through a variety of practical exercises.

The practical exercises will be conducted in urban (Chicago), suburban and rural environments. Driving skills for Interstate highways, residential areas and rural roads will be covered.  Dense city neighborhoods, apartment complexes, shopping malls, hotels and truck stops will be used as settings for the exercises.  Instructors will ride in surveillance vehicles with the students to reinforce learning objectives.   

Topics Include

  • Definitions and terminology
  • Planning and briefings
  • Contingency plans
  • Radio communications
  • Vehicular surveillance vulnerabilities
  • Foot surveillance vulnerabilities
  • Disguises for Vehicle and Officers
  • Vehicle trackers
  • Informants
  • Photography and video strategies


  1. Only sworn active law enforcement officers are authorized to attend this class.
  2. Participants should dress in casual civilian dress appropriate for covert foot surveillance.  No visible firearms or badges.
  3. An agency owned or leased unmarked police vehicle is needed. * NOTE: Two participants from the same agency can share one vehicle.  The vehicle should be unmarked, not necessarily have to be covert.
  4. Cell phone and charger.


Chief Tom Ross (retired), Bolingbrook PD

Sgt. Anthony Terranova, Glen Ellyn PD, DEA Task Force Officer

Inv. Rick Fabrie, Aurora PD, United States Marshall Service Task Force Officer

Sgt. Scott Thorsen, Naperville PD, former DEA Task Force Officer

Det. Bob Boehnke, Bolingbrook PD, former DEA Task Force Officer

Ofc. Brigitte Buitron, Bolingbrook PD, former FBI Task Force Officer

Date and Time

Monday to Wednesday, Sept. 26 to 28, 2022
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Homeland Security Training Center (HTC)
Hours: 24
Tuition: $325

Inquire about HSTI Classes