Confidential informants - numbers matter. Risk management in managing confidential informants. Some information for Chiefs of Police
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.