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Safeguarding Undercover Employees: A Strategy for Success

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 77 Issue: 8 Dated: August 2008 Pages: 1-8
Meredith Krause Ph.D.
Date Published
August 2008
8 pages
This article discusses the safeguarding of employees engaged in undercover operations.
Noted in this article is that the selection, management and retention of effective undercover employees (UCEs) poses significant challenges to local, State, Federal, and international law enforcement agencies. The unique experiences of these employees place them at risk for psychological injury, disciplinary actions, and other adverse personal and professional consequences. Leadership commitment is cited as being critical to the effectiveness of the UCE safeguard process. Recommendations are made to be considered as critical functions and features of the undercover safeguard process. Critical functions include: selection, education, inoculation, support and monitoring, debriefing and reintegration, and risk management. The article states that seven critical features should be adhered to and displayed, to include use of research based information, organizationally imbedding the safeguard mission, maintaining a safeguard mission-oriented approach to the team focus, communication by safeguard personnel in a case specific and time sensitive manner, conduct of a separate but equal assessment process, use of broad-based sources of information in decisionmaking, and maintaining a mindfulness of the legal issues potentially generated by the information generated. Effective implementation of an undercover safeguard program was stated to depend largely upon organizational commitment to the primary well-being of UCEs and understanding of the well-documented consequences and correlates of undercover work. 9 notes