Citation[edit | edit source]
Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, Pub. L. No. 90-351, 82 Stat. 197 (June 19, 1968), codified at 42 U.S.C. Ch. 46, §§3701 to 3797ee-1.
Overview[edit | edit source]
The Act was one of the first major pieces of legislation to directly address organized crime. Specifically, it provided grant money via the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) to state law enforcement agencies to combat organized crime. Included in the Act was the congressional finding that organized criminals make extensive use of wire and oral communications in their criminal activities. The interception of such communications to obtain evidence of the commission of crimes or to prevent their commission is an indispensable aid to law enforcement and the administration of justice.
Title III of the Act is a comprehensive wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping statute that not only outlawed both activities in general terms but it also permitted federal law enforcement agencies to wiretap conversations of suspected criminals, including suspects of organized crime. Electronic wiretapping authority granted in the Act immediately provided American law enforcement and policymakers with an indication of organized criminals' activity, specifically their involvement in illegally importing and distributing narcotics.