* Informants and Undercover Investigations: A Practical Guide to Law, Policy, and Procedure. By Dennis G. Fitzgerald; published by CRC press; available from ASIS, item # 1816, 703/519-6200 (phone), www.asisonline.org (Web); 408 pages; $100 (ASIS members), $110 (nonmembers).
Before deciding to use informants or undercover agents, investigators must weigh the risks versus the potential rewards. In some cases, it is impossible to secure information and evidence without an insider’s view. However, the decision makers must strike a balance between the pursuit of justice and the mental and physical well-being of the informant or undercover operative.
Use of informants and undercover agents in investigations has emerged as a major issue in the shadow of 9-11. Both options remain critical if we are to address crime and corruption that would not be detected save for these intrusive investigative techniques.
In Informants and Undercover Investigations: A Practical Guide to Law, Policy, and Procedure, Dennis G. Fitzgerald has compiled a comprehensive overview of the most critical concerns surrounding these aggressive investigative techniques. His research is impressive and digs through layers of policy and procedural rubrics to provide the reader with a thorough understanding of the issue’s dynamics.
This book is a must-read for any law enforcement official contemplating these investigative techniques. It reinforces policy by providing succinct examples of case law and law enforcement guidelines that emphasize what those in the legal and law enforcement communities must consider about these sensitive investigative techniques.
Reviewer: Professor Wincelowicz, Ph.D., is chair of the College of Business and lead instructor for Criminal Justice at Johnson & Wales University’s Denver Campus. He was the unit chief for undercover and sensitive operations for the FBI and worked as an undercover agent for more than nine years while assigned to the FBI’s New York field office.