Informants, Cooperating Witnesses, and Undercover Investigations : A Practical Guide to Law, Policy, and Procedure, Second Edition book cover
2nd Edition

Informants, Cooperating Witnesses, and Undercover Investigations
A Practical Guide to Law, Policy, and Procedure, Second Edition

ISBN 9781466554580
Published November 5, 2014 by CRC Press
556 Pages - 56 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The use of informants has been described as the "black hole of law enforcement." Failures in the training of police officers and federal agents in the recruitment and operation of informants has undermined costly long-term investigations, destroyed the careers of prosecutors and law enforcement officers, and caused death and serious injuries to innocent citizens and police. In many cases, the events leading to disaster could have been avoided had the law enforcement agency followed the time-tested procedures examined in this book.

Informants, Cooperating Witnesses, and Undercover Investigations: A Practical Guide to Law, Policy, and Procedure, Second Edition covers every aspect of the informant and cooperating witness dynamic—a technique often shrouded in secrecy and widely misunderstood. Quoted routinely in countless newspaper and magazine articles, the first edition of this book was the go-to guide for practical, effective guidance on this controversial yet powerful investigative tool. Extensively updated, topics in this second edition include:

  • Sweeping changes in the FBI and ICE informant and undercover programs
  • New informant recruiting techniques
  • Reverse sting operations
  • Entrapment issues
  • Examination of recent high-profile cases where the misuse of informants resulted in lawsuits and legislation
  • The changing nature of compensation and cooperation agreements
  • Forfeiture, informants, and rewards
  • The management of controlled undercover purchases of evidence
  • Challenges posed by fabricated information, phantom informants and police corruption
  • Witness security measures
  • New whistleblower reward programs

Authoritative, scholarly, and based on boots-on-the-ground experience, this book is written by an author who has been a police supervisor, an informant recruiter and handler, an undercover agent, and an attorney. Supported by statutes, case law, and previously unpublished excerpts from law enforcement agency manuals, it is essential reading for every police officer, police manager, prosecutor, police academy trainer, criminal justice professor, and defense attorney.

This book is part of the Practical Aspects of Criminal and Forensic Investigations series.

Table of Contents

Informants and Sources Defined

Motivations to Cooperate as an Informant

Recruiting Informants

Sources of Compensation for Informants

Cooperation and Contingency Fee Agreements

Informant Documentation and Identification

Undercover Purchases of Evidence by Informants and Probable Cause

Corroboration of Informant Information

Informants and Electronic Surveillance

Controlling the Informant

The Witness Security Program

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"Dennis Fitzgerald's book offers far more critical advice to law enforcement agents conducting undercover investigations than any legal textbook. His sweeping, no-holds-barred techniques for handling informants—from the key witness with a troubled past to the snitch who switches sides—can not only save cases, but even lives. His book is mandatory reading for any reader who wants to understand the crucial role of informants in the criminal justice system and the shady, treacherous world in which they operate."
—Michael Sallah, Miami Herald Investigative Reporter and Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting