(Excerpts from www.TalkLeft.com)

Confidential Informants Used Heavily in Philadelphia

TalkLeft has often discussed the damage that informants do to individuals and families, to law enforcement agencies, to privacy rights, and to the criminal justice system and the society that depends upon it to operate fairly. The Inquirer reports allegations in the context of a larger issue of crime policy: law enforcement’s nearly unregulated reliance upon police informants.

Despite the work done by informants, the head of the city’s police union said many officers regard them with contempt.

So why would a dutiful officer who is skeptical of informant credibility rely upon informants at all? It’s better to put informants at risk than to risk the lives of undercover cops. Of course, officers will minimize the risk to informants, but are “looking at the welfare of the police officer first.”

If risky activities are so important, shouldn’t the trained professionals who get paid to assume the risks associated with law enforcement make them, rather than recruiting frightened and desperate and often drug addicted individuals who are pressured to take risks they would ordinarily avoid?

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