14U24ME. “What is that?” Marko said. “One for you, two for me,” Ballard said.
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Seeking a wiretap approval was a complicated and difficult process because listening in on personal phone calls starkly conflicted with Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure. The probable cause for such an intrusion had to be complete, airtight, and desperate. Complete and airtight because the writer had to lay out in the probable cause statement that the threshold of criminal activity by the target of the surveillance had been easily passed. Desperate because the investigator must also make a convincing argument for the wiretap being the only alternative for advancing the case against the intended target. A wiretap was supposed to be a last-resort measure, and so required a detective to get the written approval of the department. It had to be signed off on by a high-ranking supervisor — like a captain or higher.

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