General Order 42.2

Last Revised: 03-01-2017


This order consists of the following numbered sections:

42.2.1    Investigative task forces

42.2.2    Investigative use of polygraph

42.2.3    Informants

42.2.1 Investigative task forces

I.    Definitions

A.    “Task Force” means an inter-agency work group that is designed to provide cooperative enforcement in the participating jurisdictions regarding a specific aspect of law enforcement and that is long-term in nature. Example: Thurston County Narcotics Task Force.

II.    Policy

Investigative task forces reduce duplication of effort, pool resources, expertise and information and increase the potential for successful suppression of certain types of crime.

III.    The Department may participate in formal multi-agency investigative task forces when it is determined that the solution of a crime or series of crimes is more likely to be accomplished by an investigative task force.

A.    A task force is created and governed by a written agreement. At minimum, such written agreements specify the following:

1.    Responsibility for task force command (i.e., designation of a lead agency);

2.    Responsibility for task force oversight;

3.    Task force operational guidelines;

4.    Responsibility for fiscal management;

5.    Responsibility for task force operating expenses;

6.    Assurance that Department employees assigned to task forces remain employees of the Department, subject to its rules, regulations, command structure and benefits;

7.    Specific duration of the task force.

B.    The following agreements may also be required:

1.    Participant selection criteria, including assurance that all qualified personnel may compete for available positions;

2.    Provision for renewal of the task force agreement, if appropriate;

3.    Responsibility for participant training;

4.    Evaluation criteria and responsibility for the evaluation of task force performance.

42.2.2 Investigative use of polygraph

I.    The polygraph may be used as a technical aid for the detection of deception in criminal investigations, in compliance with applicable State and Federal law.

II.    Only operators who are graduates of a recognized and certified institution providing training on the use of the polygraph shall be used by the Department to conduct investigative polygraph examinations.

42.2.3 Informants

I.    Policy

Officers develop information from individuals who, because of their relationship to criminals and/or crimes, are willing to provide key information about criminal activity or assist with criminal investigations only if they are granted anonymity and/or compensation or other considerations. Such individuals are deemed to be confidential informants, and the Department employs special procedures in handling this group of informants.

A.    In all cases, officers are to advise their supervisor when they initiate a relationship with a potential informant.

B.    The Department utilizes a confidential informant registration system to assure that appropriate control is exercised over investigations and the expenditure of investigative funds.

C.    It is Department policy not to employ juveniles (i.e., persons under the age of 18) as confidential informants, except in the following circumstances:

1.    When a juvenile’s participation as a confidential informant can be articulated as being critical to the success of an investigation, and

2.    When a juvenile’s parent or legal guardian has signed a written permission form authorizing the juvenile’s participation as a confidential informant; releasing the Department from liability stemming from that participation; and acknowledging that they (the parent/guardian and the juvenile) have been fully apprised of the tasks and risks involved in the confidential informant role being requested, or

3.    When a juvenile’s participation as a confidential informant has been approved by the juvenile court.

Activities involving the use of confidential informants are closely supervised. Confidential informants are not left unattended, at any time, in any unsecured area of the police facility, or in any area where sensitive or confidential information is located, or in any area where weapons or police equipment items are stored.