As Baltimore police face a new allegation about an officer who got too close to his informant, columnist Peter Hermann of the city’s Sun reviews some of the realities about cops and confidential informants.
He writes, “It is a murky, secretive place where cops and crooks mingle and exchange information for money, a place where the line dividing law and disorder often blurs. Sometimes it disappears altogether.”
In the movies, he writes, cops hand their snitches cash in a dark alley, In reality, informants are registered and operate under various bureaucracies, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Confidential Source Unit. They get their money, sometimes in five- and six-figure amounts, in the form of checks from the U.S. Treasury Department. Sometimes, they even get bonuses for exceptional work.