There is widespread dissatisfaction in the ranks of the 120 undercover officers in the New York Police Department’s Organized Crime Control Bureau, which runs most undercover operations, reports the New York Times, citing interviews with nearly a dozen current or recently retired detectives. About 40 undercover officers or detectives have pending requests to be transferred out, said one official.
“Once you're in, there's no way out,” said Michael Palladino, head of the detectives' union. The job attracts young officers with three to five years' experience. After an interview process, which involves a role-playing component, applicants undergo a month of training, including courses on street drugs, and lessons on how to affect the mannerisms of an addict. Most candidates tend to be black or Hispanic; officials say that many minority drug dealers are more likely to suspect white customers of being undercover officers. The work is not glamorous. It is aimed at those who sell drugs or guns, making the job inherently dangerous. Officers are at risk of being robbed and have been killed by suspects they hope to arrest; they face the risk of being shot by fellow officers who may mistake them for armed criminals.