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  • Questions about Informants (I'm a novel writer)

    Dear Awesome-Person-That-Answers-My-Questions,

    Since I know next to zero about police work (despite my dad having been a deputy when I was a kid), I hope someone can answer my questions. I also sincerely hope that I'm not posting inappropriately.

    I’m writing a novel (my first actually) and in it I have a vice cop (A Denver one!). What I need to know is about paid informants (well, if there is such a thing). I guess I’ll just list my questions so you can, hopefully, answer them easily without me taking up too much of your time. Let me also thank you in advance! (and beg a little too. Please be able to answer! LOL).

    I guess where this comes from mainly is The Shield and how he the main character had a paid informant. That’d work really well for my novel, I just don’t know if it’s realistic.

    1) Is there such a thing as a paid informant who has to produce a certain amount of leads? (I mean get paid on a regular basis for good information as opposed to percentages of busts?) More specifically, are there paid informants who are not offering leads based on getting sentence reduction? (i.e. do they volunteer information?)
    2) Do these informants get put into the system under a special code so if they’re arrested, injured or killed the officer in charge of them gets notified? (And if so how does that remain confidential? A special computer ding? An internal memo sent to the cop? etc)
    3) And last question, who would handle the murder of that informant? Randomly assigned detectives on rotation? Or the police officer in charge of that informant?

    I’m presuming a lot here and I may even be wrong in my presumptions. For instance maybe the informant would report to a specific division chief, like Andy Sipowicz , instead of a specific officer? Or maybe there’s just no such thing as an informant like what I’m thinking? Or maybe they just all work on contingency fees?

    I would appreciate any help you could give and information you’re willing to part with that won’t put anyone at risk. I would offer cookies or cakes in return, but I guess bribing an officer is big no no (and I live in Sweden so by the time cake arrived, I might be arrested for attempting send deadly-stale cake-weapons. Although I could send pictures of me eating the cake so you’d know at one point it was moist and delicious…? But then you wouldn’t have any cake at all – not even a stale one.)

    Thanks, again, profusely.

    PS: If you know Andy Sipowicz, can I have his email? I have lots of other questions… And it has nothing to do with my fat, bald, police detective fetish. Honest. No, really.

  • #2
    This boarders on OPSEC. Even if you weren't a novel writer, getting "good" answers from members in the LE community would be highly unlikely.

    Good luck with your novel.
    Getting shot hurts! Don't under estimate the power of live ammo. A .22LR can kill you! I personally feel that it's best to avoid being shot by any caliber. Your vest may stop the bullet, but you'll still get a nice bruise or other injury to remember the experience.

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    • #3
      As a matter of rather informal forum policy, we don't do term papers, research projects, or homework assignments for students,nor do we provide free of charge material for aspiring novelists. The reasons for this policy are many and varied, but suffice it to say, you probably won't get a whole lot of help here. Certainly, an Officer is free to assist you at their discretion, but I don't believe they'll be waiting in line.

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      • #4
        What they said.

        OPSEC.
        MAC

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by PhilipCal View Post
          As a matter of rather informal forum policy, we don't do term papers, research projects, or homework assignments for students,nor do we provide free of charge material for aspiring novelists. The reasons for this policy are many and varied, but suffice it to say, you probably won't get a whole lot of help here. Certainly, an Officer is free to assist you at their discretion, but I don't believe they'll be waiting in line.
          Like my colleagues above have stated...............................

          We normally don't help people on this forum that are going to profit from our expertise............................

          and

          We definitely are NOT going to give out operational details which could get a colleague hurt or killed should those procedures become known.
          Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

          My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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          • #6
            As a side note, I don't understand why people who don't know anything about police work want to write police novels. Isn't it a lot easier to write about something you know?

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            • #7
              I'm sorry I posted in the wrong place obviously. I suppose I wasn't expecting such ... hostility directed at the idea. Eyes wide open now. Thanks anyway.

              Originally posted by just joe View Post
              As a side note, I don't understand why people who don't know anything about police work want to write police novels. Isn't it a lot easier to write about something you know?
              I happened to have a great deal of respect and admiration for police officers, hence why I made my main character one. And hence why i wanted to do research to make him as realistic as possible.

              People write about aliens, elves, trolls, spacecraft, dogs, cats, farmers, intergalactic wars between far far away galaxies... imagine if all writers wrote about is what we knew?

              Anyway I'll just mosey on out of here and best of luck to you all.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by AlexV View Post
                I'm sorry I posted in the wrong place obviously. I suppose I wasn't expecting such ... hostility directed at the idea. Eyes wide open now. Thanks anyway.




                Anyway I'll just mosey on out of here and best of luck to you all.
                The above answers were not hostile in the least. You were actually politely told our position ..................

                Hostile would come later when you start arguing with us about our views on this matter.


                Have a nice day.
                Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                Comment


                • #9
                  Alex....do a search here in Ask A Cop. Look for writers looking for info for their story line, and I guarantee you will find the same answers you got here. You are looking to make a buck off of our input with no royalties or credit for helping with your book. And, as others have said, we are rather particular about our Operational Security, or OPSEC. Our tactics are not to be widely or publicly discussed for officer safety reasons. I'm glad you understand that now. See, I'm a writer too, but I have all the experience I need in order to know how to write that protagonist. It's what I know.

                  You may have better luck if you contact someone in person and have a contract for royalties drawn up prior to engaging in your research. Good luck.
                  sigpic
                  Originally posted by Smurfette
                  Lord have mercy. You're about as slick as the business side of duct tape.
                  Originally posted by DAL
                  You are without doubt a void surrounded by a sphincter muscle.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by AlexV View Post
                    Dear Awesome-Person-That-Answers-My-Questions,

                    Since I know next to zero about police work.
                    In this economy the closest that most departments get to paid informants is a Crime Stoppers.

                    Very few people will know who any informant is, 99% of informants are not paid. Homicide investigations are investigated by officers assigned to the homicide division, if the department is big enough to have a homicide division, Denver is big enough.

                    Vice works vice offenses.

                    Don't us TV shows, Even "Cops" as reference material. There are plenty of open source material out there on the information that you want to know, but there are expensive, try a good reference library. Good luck with the book.
                    Ut humiliter opinor

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by AlexV View Post
                      I'm sorry I posted in the wrong place obviously. I suppose I wasn't expecting such ... hostility directed at the idea. Eyes wide open now. Thanks anyway.



                      I happened to have a great deal of respect and admiration for police officers, hence why I made my main character one. And hence why i wanted to do research to make him as realistic as possible.

                      People write about aliens, elves, trolls, spacecraft, dogs, cats, farmers, intergalactic wars between far far away galaxies... imagine if all writers wrote about is what we knew?

                      Anyway I'll just mosey on out of here and best of luck to you all.
                      Hostility? Noooooo......I feel we very politely stated our position. If you took our replies as hostile, then, I can only suggest that you have a problem with perception.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by just joe View Post
                        As a side note, I don't understand why people who don't know anything about police work want to write police novels. Isn't it a lot easier to write about something you know?
                        +1.

                        First rule of writing is write what you know.

                        Originally posted by AlexV View Post
                        People write about aliens, elves, trolls, spacecraft, dogs, cats, farmers, intergalactic wars between far far away galaxies... imagine if all writers wrote about is what we knew?
                        I hear this line from aspiring writers all the time but it simply doesn't hold water. Let me explain. Would you write a tale about the lives of High Elves if you knew nothing about the very in-depth lore and legend that surround them? How much credibility would you hold in the fantasy market if you penned this epic tale about elves yet demonstrated a clear lack of knowledge about the generally accepted fan-lore of elven lives?

                        Let me put in a different light. Would you write an in-depth novel on the inside political dealings of the Cuban Missile Crisis if you lacked the knowledge of what dealings would have been going on or, worse yet, knew nothing about the Cuban Missile Crisis?

                        That is what you're proposing. You've decided to write a novel with a vice cop as your central lead but know nothing about the lives of vice cops (or cops in general), nothing about police work, and more specifically nothing about vice work. How gripping do you really believe your tale will be to the reader? More importantly, how well will be able to sell a flat, one-dimensional vice cop story to a publisher?

                        Research will only get you so far. Many authors will research a topic for years before ever putting pen to paper. This holds true for even many novelists writing pure fiction. There's a reason that Stephen King sets his stories in the Northeast. Its what he knows. When you read his books, you feel New England because it all smacks true even amongst the tide of other-worldly creatures that strike terror in your heart.
                        Originally posted by kontemplerande
                        Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

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