The death of Officer Charles Smith highlights the danger and sacrifice undercover police officers make every day on the job.
For these officers safety is the top priority.
Officers must take extreme precaution not to blow their cover.
Each time an officer goes into a dangerous situation undercover, they put their lives on the line.
We talked to police in both Huntington and Charleston about how they make the best of a dangerous situation.
Helicopters, drug dogs, swat teams are all part of a sweep that began with undercover activity.
J.T. Combs of Huntington Police says, “A lot of nights working over, no sleep, many hours, and gathering surveillance.”
Officer Combs is a Huntington detective who spent several weeks working undercover and using surveillance that ultimately caught drug dealers in Huntington.
Combs says, “It’s a dangerous job, and you have to be prepared. Keep in mind your surroundings, training and praying.”
Chuck Carpenter, Charleston Metro Drug Unit, works with the Metro Drug Unit in Charleston.
He's sent officers to undercover school to learn the ins and outs of working in the underworld.
Carpenter says there's always a risk, and drug thugs don't put a value on life.
That's why informants are wired and able to communicate with nearby police.
Carpenter confesses, “We’ve had informants searched and they found the wires, and we rushed in.”
Police tell us the undercover police are always armed and they have to depend on back-up.
They use key word or phrases that alert nearby police to assist them if they're in danger.
As soon as this sweep is over they'll start surveillance and undercover activity all over again.
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