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Becoming a Narc

Becoming a Narc

Greg Ferency / SWAT Digest

I was transferred to the local Drug Task Force in January 1996. I was straight out of the uniform division and I can now admit that my drug enforcement experience was limited to pulling a little bit of dope out of someone’s pocket after an unrelated arrest. After I was transferred I asked myself what was I stepping into. Here is something that was even more of a challenge. Every single person who transferred to the Drug Task Force with me was new to this type of police work. We were all rookies again. I felt like a fish out of water to say the least. Everything that I was used to doing as a uniformed police officer went out the window. No more wearing cop related clothing. No more hanging in the parking lots with the officers. No more telling other people that I met for the first time that I was a proud member of the law enforcement community. Everything that I was used to and comfortable with as a police officer was about to change.

Even the case files required on felony drug arrests intimidated the hell out of me. As a uniform officer anything over three pages of writing was considered a long report. These case files were a whole new ballgame – they looked like novels. My first thought was that there was no way I was going to be able to write and put one of these things together. My second thought was that my drug enforcement career was going to be the shortest in history.

Fortunately, the supervisor that was transferred with us had some dope cop experience in his past and we quickly followed his lead. We learned that the case files were not as bad as they appeared. We learned how to develop and run informants. In other words we learned the basics. With everyone being new to the unit we had one very slight advantage. We developed a working relationship and style that was all our own. We started branching off into specialties that interested us the most. As good luck would have it we were not all interested in the same aspects of narcotics work. I ventured in the undercover (UC) operations. Not that I was looking for any extra excitement or the mystic of being a UC. I just quickly learned that the reports were much easier to write and the cases were stronger against the defendants. I grew out the hair, got the tattoos and did everything else that I thought I needed to become an effective UC. By the end of 1998 I looked like a roadie for Led Zeppelin on the ’77 tour.

As a new narc you must realize that we operate in three different types of environments / stages – high profile, medium profile and low profile. The narc must be able to operate in all three stages with minimal difficulty and they may transfer over from one to another in a matter of minutes.

Greg Ferency

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    8 months ago


    I'm an 28 year old guy, my dream career it was always to become an narcotic officer. all my life I tryed to stay away from trouble and to this day I have to say I've done a great job. my background is clean as it can be not one situation with the law nor any addictions as of drugs or other substance. The only thing is that, I havent' been on it, I believe that I'm might be a lil too old for going back to school and I'm just in a pause situation of not knowing what steps to take for becoming one. I would appreciate so much if any officers would give me some advice and a lil guide on how to start pursuing my dream career to become somebody in law force. Thanks.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 1 year ago


    I hope narcs themselves realize just like you that what they do is not always in the public’s best interest
    and therefore dress ridiculously to not arrest innocent people

    innocent is partying just for fun with mostly harmless drugs

    innocent is a person not having multiple hard drugs on them

    I only see a few people who use drugs really need help, those who use multiple hard substances, as that is often addiction

    but many people use coke,xtc,amphs,weed etc. recreatively a handful years and then stop (from 18-25 or so)
    then they get a wide/girlfriend stop using, and their education

    we should use common sense, narcs should too

    I hope they are as aware of hurting the public like you are

    what we really need is a ‘lesson/warning’ , not a misdenamur (cant spell it – not us citizen)
    just like when you ride on your bicycle and forget the light, teaching the person that they must buy light for the fine’s price and they get that as a lesson is good police work
    fining them might be worse, because then they dont have money for light on the bicycle
    even though they did something worse

    that’s where I got respect for the police, because I had a nice encounter with them once…
    be nice to people , even as a narc
    but being nice is not taking a job as a narc, I believe it is against our purpose here

    we need to change the laws
    people call ambulances every weekend due to xtc overdoses
    but the problem is not the drug, the drug is as safe as coffeine in most used doses

    the problem is prohibition, people overdose on unknown drugs sold as xtc.

    in the 80s people danced safely, today they have to fear and call ambulances/die due to prohibition

    end the madness, don’t be a narc, inform the rest of police friends etc.
    take interest in politics

    the madness is that we assume alcohol is safe and Okay
    but weed is bad, weed makes you insane
    xtc is very very bad, yet scientifically safe

    there should be no class A drugs like they are, they are not scientific
    alcohol and cigarettes are most harmful

    a judge should decide what is harmful and what is not
    i.e. addicted people who are addicted to their drugs should receive communicty service
    they shouldn’t lose jobs

    we are harming the public each day
    people die almost each day in the drug war, for a plant people can grow in the garden

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 1 year ago


    how doe an individual become a narc and get paid?


  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    I would love to experience every unit in the force, once I get on the job.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Retired after 25 years, 16 of them as a narc and four more in a Violent Crime unit that basically made drug cases on violent offenders (most of the worst were drug dealers as well as shooters and they got more time for dope than for guns). Its not for everyone but, if you like it, its a great gig. I got to work with agencies from locals to Feds (they're really not THAT bad), worked street rips and extended wiretaps, locked up killers and money launderers, travelled outside my jurisdiction on many, many cases, drove decent cars and dressed down most of the time. BTW, narcs don't have to have beards and tatoos and all that crap. You just can't have the "cop look" and attiude that serve you so well in normal police work. The downside are the constant phone calls, irregular hours and seedy people (informants, not other cops) you have to associate with. No, you can't tell everybody exactly what you do but its easy enough to dance around the curious questions. I took it as a complement when somebody would say "Wow, I never took you as a cop." Not that I looked like a thug or gangster, I didn't. The idea is to just blend in. There is a certain danger of becoming more like "them" than "us' but a good supervisor should see it coming before its a real problem. I'd suggest taking the assignment if offered, even if its only for a couple of years. It could be pretty boring but, damn! It could be a lot of fun.

  • Avatar_sacredheart-_my_beliefenet_photo_6-8-08_max50


    over 4 years ago


    One, your invisable as you...
    And you must never tell.........even your closest of friends!!!
    You just don't want to go there....keep the family out of it if at all possible, and some times - - - as someone with whom I would take a bullet for says - - - - they can't get to you, if you just do your roll playing & fit in,
    there are always some one who will gossip, don't ever forget that.... and I still look at my uniform, hung in
    my office with the door locked always....... 25 yrs strong !!!!!!!!!!! Is it C.I. or U.C. or just "snitch".................

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    The problem is that there's just no more public support for marijuana enforcement. Even the 2 out of 5 Americans who want marijuana to be illegal don't want young people spending time in prison for it. You'll never convince people that John Q Potsmoker is going to go out and kill people.

  • Photo_max50


    over 4 years ago



  • Photo_user_banned_big


    over 4 years ago


    wow, a job where u can befriend people with the sole intention of trying to stab them in the back

  • Segway-police-unit-china_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I always wondered, walking the walk and talking the talk - did you ever take a liking to the people you bust? There's some real interesting characters out there that use functionally.

  • 20141003_065807-1_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Very good article. It gets to a point other L.EO. dont even know who you are. Apperance and mentaly. You cant talked to uniform guys. They will call you asked whats up and what your doing. And you CANT and Better NOT tell them. Long hours alot of traveling. Thats just to build your case.
    You and your family are out eating. And someone you see from on the street. You have to just get up and walk away from your family. Just so they want see you with your love ones.

    Getting calls on your Drug phone"a yo i got this ish for ya can we meet" and you and your women just got finished doing the DO....(Ya Feel Me). Ummm that want go over to well. But you just have to always be very careful. Never drop your guard. You should carry EVERYWHERE YOU GO. Some get well let me not say to much. But it's a diffrent life to live. You work hard to go thru school. So you can be very proud to say your a L.E.O.. And now your silenced about everything.SERIUSLY FORGET what you learned in school. Cause the 1st time you say 10-4, Im in route or just speaking proper english YOUR A COP. You have really got yourself in some deep ish.

    Who you are, What you are, Where your from, You have no family.
    It's deep but at the sametime. You will learn so much more about Life and People. Learn to turn it on and off just like that. Good luck to you that want to do it. And I look in my closet at my uniform just to remind myself who I am.

  • Srt__max50


    over 4 years ago


    Hey! Guys trust me the work is very rewarding and the excitment well got to be there to understand. but know this is the other side of the coin. Were i used to work as a cop drug dealers if they dont get you they get your faimilies and if they dont get your families they will somenthing or somebody of interest to you. Slepples nights looking behind your back every 3 seconds going around the block 20 times just to make sure you are not being followed, Your wife telling you me or the force what with ill be or if you have kids depending on the age they will not understand get the pic.

  • Patch_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Great article. I'm considering the narcotics route in my department

  • Img_0323_max50


    over 7 years ago


    never a field I was interested in, but very good, and very interesting nonetheless

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