Undercover safety tips
by P-1 featured columnist Dave Smith
- Gather as much intelligence on the perp as possible; any rumor or history of weapons or violence, or unusual demands are cues that should make you pick a more public place for the deal.
- The Undercover Officer or Confidential Informant must control the location.
- Train all your U/C officers on close quarter defense to stop a possible deadly threat.
By Moustafa Ayad
Copyright 2007 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
An undercover Pittsburgh vice squad detective was shot last night while chasing a suspected prostitute who was trying to run from the officer and his partner.
The wounded officer, Detective Jeffrey Smith, was in good condition last night at Mercy Hospital with a gunshot wound to the side of his abdomen, said Police Chief Nate Harper, who visited with the 23-year police veteran and his wife at the hospital.
The shooting occurred about 8:30 p.m on De Ruad Street in West Oakland, just below the Hill District.
A suspect was taken into custody later in the evening and was being questioned by detectives at police headquarters, Chief Harper said.
Chief Harper gave this account of the shooting:
Detective Smith and his unidentified partner picked up the prostitute on Fifth Avenue, posing as customers.
The two officers and the woman drove a short distance and offered the woman money in exchange for sex.
A short time later, when the two men identified themselves as police officers, the woman jumped out of the car and began running on Wyandotte Street.
The officers followed her to De Ruad Street, where Detective Smith got out of the car and began running after the woman. Just as he was about to catch her, Chief Harper said, the woman turned and shot him, then fled toward the Hill District.
Detective Smith was not wearing a bulletproof vest, Chief Harper said. He said officers usually do not wear one during such operations because they would be noticed by prostitutes.
Dozens of police responded to the scene and began combing the area, including parts of the Hill District and Oakland.
In addition to city detectives and the police Special Emergency Response Team, officers from the sheriff's department, Allegheny County police, Pittsburgh Housing Authority police and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted.
State police sent a helicopter to the scene.
Chief Harper said the wounded officer appeared to be doing well in the hospital.
"He's alert and in good condition," the chief said.
Undercover Penn. officer shot, wounded