Confidential informants - numbers matter. Risk management in managing confidential informants. Some information for Chiefs of Police
Auditing confidential informant funds. Article and commentary on an audit of undercover and informant funds
Confidential informant management system. This article highlights three recent cases of police corruption in managing confidential informants and highlights how they can be avoided.
Confidential informant management and the use of dedicated officers. Expert article on why to use dedicated officers to manage all confidential informants. Professionalising informant management. Dedicated source handling units.
Confidential informant motivations. What motivates someone to work as a confidential informant?
Confidential informant management risk. Discusses case where there is poor confidential informant management Suggestions for Chiefs of police in relation to n dealing with confidential informants, (Human Sources, CHIS, HUMINT)
Here is a story that is unfortunately to common: the tragic and arguably avoidable death of someone who has agreed to be a confidential informant for law enforcement. Shelley Hillard was 19 year's old when she agreed to become a confidential informant after being caught with marijuana at a Detroit motel in 2011.
Follow this link for the story.
First, as human beings we must acknowledge that a person has lost their life and that a family is grieving that loss.
Second, as law enforcement professionals we must take the opportunity to see if their are any lessons that can be learned from such events to prevent a recurrence with some other person.
Often these events occur through two major failings:
- The agency does not have effective structures to manage confidential informantssafely. There is a lack of clear policy, record keeping is poor and supervision is far from adequate. INADEQUATE STRUCTURES = NEGLIGENCE
- The officers are not trained to manage confidential informants. Managing a confidential informant is a difficult task and there are numerous things that can go wrong including a failure to protect the person, the development of a corrupt relationship, and poor evidence collection. All staff involved int eh management of confidential informants need training with regard to how to do this. And the training should meet minimum standards. Quite simply you cannot teach someone how to manage a confidential informant in one or two days. And if an officer is not properly trained they should NOT be allowed to manage an confidential informant. NOT TRAINED = NEGLIGENCE
And if you are a Chief worried about the cost of improving your training and structures, if the ethical obligation does not work for you, then you might find motivation in the thought of paying out $1,000,000!
If you need expert guidance on the structures required to manage the risks with regard to confidential informants or want help with quality training please contact us at HSM Training and Consultancy. Or have a read at some of our related publications listed on this website.
It is 2016 and the days of paying confidential informants without having a system which can be audited should be long gone. Floyd County Sheriff's Department in New Albany, Indiana were audited recently in relation to managing funds relating to confidential informants. The audit should raise concerns with any one reading it given the substantial sums of money involved.
There are many reasons why money used to pay confidential informants needs to be highly regulated. Here are a few.
- There is a very high risk of officers becoming corrupted when dealing with confidential informants. Allowing them access to money without there being in place a strict regime just creates an environment, where it is much more likely to happen. The temptation and opportunity are a recipe for disaster.
- If there is not a strict policy on managing informant money it is very tempting for senior officers to "divert" that money to other projects and not what it was allocated for.
- If there is not a rigorous regime it is far to easy for someone to make false allegations about the officers that are using the money.
- The Sheriff or Chief needs to be able to see exactly how much was paid, who was paid and what the agency got for that money. This requires comprehensive records of every payment the dates the times and who paid it, who authorised the payment and why. This goes a long way to ensuring objectivity when deciding how much to pay a confidential informant.
- If there is not a clear audit of payments it can raise serious doubt about the veracity of any information obtained by the confidential informant. This can more problems down the line when it comes to disclosure, particularly if the informant is for some reason going to be used as a witness.
- These funds come from taxpayers. Taxpayers are entitled to have a proper accounting of how their taxes are spent. This does not mean that these records should be made public. On the contrary to do so would jeopardise the life of informants. What is required is that all the records are kept in one place where a suitably qualified person can audit them and provide reassurance to the public.
If procedures are not in place for the strict control of confidential informant finance it is a clear indication to any professional involved in this type of work that the agency has failed to manage the risks associate with managing confidential informants and as such they are negligent. In short the agency should not be managing informants. The risks are too great. The idea that an officer can access money in this way is reminiscent of the times when a drugs detective got a handful of cash for "walking around money". Those times should be history.
There is software to manage confidential informants and if any agency wants advice and guidance on how to put adequate systems in place please feel free to contact us. We will help where we can.