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Inside a Police Informant's Mind


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Table of Contents

Irwin M. Cohen


Blood Brothers
The Agent's Perspective
The Handler's Perspective

Blood Money
Police Pay
The Real Money

Streets of Blood
The Criminal World
The World I Lived In
A Short Sentence
Dealing with Fear
Ulterior Motives
Paranoia and Diversion

The Thrill and Excitement
A Day's Work
Adrenaline Rush
Cold Call

Cold Blooded
Breaking Bread with My Target
Easing Guilt
A Pat on the Back
Taking the Train
Building a Career

Police Study
Controlling Conversations
Witness Protection Coordinators
Gathering Intel for Manipulation
Pushing Buttons


Dedicated to the Job
To Serve and To Protect
When They Break
When They Are Broken
The Price of Policing
A Picture of Dedication

First Time
Trust in an Unlikely Situation
Trusting with My Life on the Line
The Need for Trust

An Example
Another Example
Caught, Not Taught

Understanding Motives
A Good Day to Die
Evaluating Informants
Looking Within

Clear and Concise Communication
Getting Through

Control and Humility
Observation Post
A Personal Example
The Other Side of the Story
Outside the Prison Walls

On Call
Dramatic Intervention
Innovative Thinking
Quick Thinking

Sense of Humor
A Macabre Tale
A Fish Story
Inhumane World
A Vital Skill

Nervous Waiting
A Gut Feeling
An Open Question
An Encounter with Wolves
Complacency and Alertness

Witness Protection Coordinators
Moral Compass
By the Book
Intelligence and the Wisdom of Experience
Only the Best

Partners in Crime
Andy and Mike
Chris and David
Ultimate Partners

Blank Stares

Gifts and Curses of an Informant

Gift of Gab

Taking a Life
Prevention Is Better Than Regret

Hours on the Stand
Collateral Damage
The Truth Will Set You Free
Life and Death
Lessons for Handlers

Life as a Rat
The Care of My Boy
Cling Like a Barnacle
It's an Addiction

Witness Protection and Starting Over
Old Habits
Finances and Bookkeeping
Being Hunted
Better Option

Final Thoughts
Rachel's Law
The Handler's Perspective
Last Words

Appendix A: Police Perspectives on Paul Derry as a Source

Appendix B: Words between a Source and His Handlers

About the Author

Paul Derry was first used as a source for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) when he was under the age of eighteen. He was coded officially in 1988 and worked as a source until a botched operation resulting in the death of Sean Simmons in 2000. He was arrested and agreed to provide information on the other participants in the murder in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Since leaving the world of crime, he has received a federal pardon from the Canadian government for his work regarding criminal justice and victims of crime. He is the author of Treacherous: How the RCMP Allowed a Hells Angel to Kill. More about Derry can be found at, and he can be contacted at


"This book is not just another `true crime' story, but an important cautionary tale for police that should be read by every police officer, especially those who identify, develop, and work with informants and agents. ...Derry describes the emotional, psychological, and physical toll that this work takes on both the informer and the handler. This book brings the reader into the world of a police informer and sheds some light on the complicated and challenging relationship between the police informer and their handler."
-Dr. Irwin M. Cohen, from the Foreword

"Over my 35 year career as a criminologist I have read hundreds of books about crime and criminal justice issues. This book was far and away the most interesting."
-Darryl Plecas, PhD, University of the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada

"Outlaw biker gangs, hit men, drugs, sex, and murder. Ingredients of stories that captivate audiences in books and on screen. But An Informant's Mind is not fiction; far from it. Derry's accounts of the glamourous, repulsive world of organized crime, and the role of the police handlers attempting to protect us from it, offers a view into the real world of crime that most people are oblivious to. An Informant's Mind should appeal not only to law enforcement personnel and students of criminal justice but also, to wider audiences whose eyes will be opened in learning the day to day crimes, brutalities, and fear experienced by offenders as well as the courage, dedication and morality of law enforcement working to stop them."
-Tim Croisdale, PhD, California State University, Sacramento, USA

"In my years as a social scientist and my work in criminal justice, I have never been exposed to such a provocative personal story. I hope this modern day hero's account will shine a light bright enough to change the lives of those who read it, and cause a re-examination of the policies and the challenges he exposes. Mr. Derry's accurate insights are a must read for all criminal justice personnel and public alike."
-Geri Bemister, North Island College, British Columbia, Canada

"This book is real and to the point. Looking into the heart and soul of informants, it provides a great perspective on how we "cops" should treat and deal with them. A very interesting and informative read."
-Detective Steven Bergen, Lubbock Police Department, Texas, USA

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