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NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 62 Issue: 9 Dated: (September 1993) Pages: 10-15
G D Lee
Date Published
6 pages
Law enforcement investigations of organized drug dealers almost always involve the use of confidential informants (CI's), and relationships between drug investigators and CI's frequently determine the success or failure of a drug enforcement program.
CI's in drug law enforcement are unique among criminal informants and are perhaps the most difficult to manage. Like most people, CI's need motivation to produce, and they commonly identify a specific motive for providing assistance. Some of the more common motivational factors encountered by drug enforcement investigators include fear, revenge, money, repentance, and altruism. Some informants have personalities that make them difficult to manage. These individuals may also have questionable motives for offering their services to law enforcement. Egotistical informants may not have received positive reinforcement from their parents or schoolmates when growing up; consequently, they seek positive feedback from their handlers as their primary reward. Some CI's failed to qualify for law enforcement positions and want to become involved in law enforcement as informants. Because they lack criminal associates, however, these individuals usually cannot provide specific information about drug dealing. The most dangerous and disruptive informants in drug law enforcement are perversely motivated CI's. They offer their services to identify undercover agents and learn about investigative methods, targets, and intelligence. Restricted use informants include juveniles, individuals on probation or parole, current or former drug addicts, felons with multiple convictions, and individuals known to be unreliable. Law enforcement agencies should establish policies concerning CI management that include creating and documenting informant files, debriefing and interacting with informants, and determining payment methods and amounts for services. Seven steps to successful informant management are outlined: identify potential informants, recruit informants, document all contacts, develop relationships, maintain relationships, use informants to the fullest, and control informants. 3 endnotes