Monday, March 29, 2010

Garland drug cop had informants sign blank payment forms

Tanya Eiserer at the Dallas News had another story last week about Officer Dennis Morrow, once considered the "quarterback" of the Garland PD narcotics unit, who's been accused in court by fellow officers of lying in drug cases ("Garland police officer admits to questionable practice with informant," March 26):

Garland police Officer Dennis Morrow admitted during a hearing Thursday that he sometimes had informants sign pay sheets without immediately filling in the amount he paid them – a practice deemed questionable by law enforcement experts – but he denied ever stealing any money.

Under questioning by Dallas County prosecutor Tim Gallagher, Morrow testified that he did realize that having informants sign blank pay sheets could create an appearance problem for him.

"You could [infer] all kinds of different things," Morrow testified.

You sure could! Why else would you have an informant sign a blank pay sheet if not because the officer intends to write in a higher number and pocket the difference? Seriously, try and think of one good reason; I can't. Eiserer continues:

Although Morrow contends he did nothing wrong with the pay sheets, the lead investigator in the Dallas fake-drug scandal said in an interview after the hearing that the officer's actions could prove to be problematic.

David Eldridge, a retired narcotics supervisor with the Texas Department of Public Safety, said that such a practice is "fraught with danger. Both he and his department that's permitting him to do this are headed for problems."

During Morrow's testimony Thursday, he said that there were rare occasions when a witness wasn't present when he gave money to a confidential informant, but that he always notified a supervisor when he did so.

He also said he sometimes would go to a motel office with an informant and give the manager the money the informants had earned from helping with drug busts.

"If they owed the motel guy $180 for the week, then we'd give it to them and they would give them what was left over," Morrow testified.

Both practices, Eldridge said, are troubling.

"That's what gets these guys in trouble is not properly documenting how the money is spent," he said.

It sounds like, to put the best possible face on it, Garland's policies related to handling confidential informants are pretty loosey-goosey. Best practices would require a supervisor present when making payments to informants, or at least another officer as a witness. And the idea of having informants sign blank pay forms? There's no excuse for that besides gross negligence or overt malfeasance. Keep an eye on this one - I wouldn't be surprised to see dozens of drug cases unravel in Garland before it's done.

See Eiserer's prior coverage:


Anonymous said...

I hate snitches, as much as I hate the cops that use them. The World would be a better place without them!

Anonymous said...

This is so underhanded to say the least. You know it is a shame that good cops become victume of this type of thing. No one trust the good because of the bad.

Anonymous said...

Often times women that live their live on the edge is caught up and used by undercover cops to do their dirty work for the, People wha have Mental issues are aslo used becaquse of being scared. Are their any more good ways to get a person with out playing tricks on people?

Anonymous said...

Since Ronnie Earle is not over the DA'S that are crooked now, who is?

Anonymous said...

Their is a big issue in Gonzales,and Seguin Texas where the police and detectives are doing the same thing to young hispanics and young Black men. The officers are planting drug raids and when they get caught they do the time. The DA iS ALSO WORKING WITH THE DIRTY COPS charging them with crimes that happen many years ago. Who ever won't work with the dirty cops they go to Jail. Final!!
Who can help these people!! wHO WILL HEAR THEM FROM THE TOP!

Mike Howard said...

From what I'm hearing the DAs are (understandably) looking at all the cases this officer has touched to see what will need to happen with each case. Obviously he has a major credibility issue.

Jackie said...

They also use confidential informants to harass and intimidate people. There are more problems in the Garland Police Department than just this one.

So why is it that they feel so comfortable in behaving this way?

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Hey Grits, this is a clear case of a fox being caught in the hen house with blank checks. The FBI needs to jump in now while it's fresh and see that this one doesn't get sugar coated any futher.

He has admitted to embellement but the sugar version reads as "questionable practice." Had that been you or I, they'd announce ready for trial in 12 days.

The use or excuse of a hotel manager as a middelman puts all motel/hotel managers in danger. Now all a drug dealer/killer has to do is put the sqeeze on lil Patel and he'll know who the informants are. This could get ugly. It all could've been avoided with a check and balance system that takes the cop out of the picture. Too easy?

Don't worry about the cop, they tend to not indict the ones with "police association" support. The proof of this is in the thousands of incidents covered at Thanks.

Hopeful said...

I hate snithches, too. I prefer to work without them.

Anonymous said...

Hopeful said...

I hate snithches, too. I prefer to work without them.

Reality check for the ignorant. If you work for the government, you're a snitch!

Do you really hate yourself that much or does the paycheck make it ok?

4Esteban said...

Its amazing that Chief Bates of this Garland police department has yet to take any disciplinary action or make any statements regarding this case - who is in control of this police force?

The investigators on this police department pride themselves first and foremost for closing criminal cases. To fabricate evidence and to reach this end has been sanctioned by the Chiefs and deparment heads for a long time- the well documented 2003 abduction/murder case of teenager Esteban Salazar represents one of this maladies. The family expects that eventually other courageous police officers with knowledge of this cover-up conspiracy will begin to come forward- More at

Anonymous said...

Morrow should get life in prison. Make an example out of him! Put a stop to so much bad cop thing. So we all make mistakes but comeon!

Anonymous said...

Well, I found your blog and the Tanya Eiserer articles, when I did a search for "Dennis Morrow Garland Police". I've done that search, and also one for a fellow officer, every few months, for the past several years. I hoped, eventually, one of them would get caught. A close family member went through a situation with Morrow and his then-partner, and it certainly shattered my illusions about the honesty and integrity of highly-decorated officers. There was an illegal search; then, a completely falsified account in an affidavit for a search warrant, to justify what they'd all ready done ; manipulating and fabricating of "evidence"; theft of nearly $2000 in cash, from an envelope in a purse, which also contained checks and a filled-out deposit slip (it was clearly business receipts, on the way to the bank). The theft was the most shocking and outrageous part of what happened, at the time - but it fits a pattern of sorts, hearing what Morrow was doing with those informant payment receipts. These guys just did whatever they wanted, unconstrained by the law or the Constitution. If it didn't work out quite as they hoped, no problem. In their affidavits and reports, they tell a fictional story of what happened, where, of course, everything was "by the book". The false story includes whatever "evidence" they need, collected from wherever best suits them, and the actions of suspects that created "exigent circumstances" - none of which happened or existed in the real world. They are totally cocky and unafraid of getting caught - they know that it will come down to a swearing match, which they will win. If you testify what really happened, it just sounds like you're slandering these fine officers, in an obvious attempt to "get off". All my life, up to this 2007 incident, I was a reflexive Back-the-Blue law-and-order conservative. If, on a jury, I'd heard the false police account of this case, and the defendant's true account, I'm disturbed to say, I would have believed the officers. I used to laugh at the saying, " A liberal is just a conservative who hasn't been mugged, yet". Now, I'd say, "A conservative is just a libertarian who hasn't been 'mugged' by the police, yet". Sorry, bit of a rant. I will watch what happens in the Morrow case with great interest. I'd sure like to have my faith in the justice system at least partly restored.

Anonymous said...

I hope "Pig Fat Boy" SORROW gets 60 yrs in the State Pen..never has there been such an egregious, sick human being in the city government of Garland Tx. He's catching hell right now..we the public are just not aware of it..GOD repays Evil in some type of meted out justice but he will see hell and brimstone before he departs this life! GAURANTEED!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I was told if I did some "buys" and worked with them I wouldnt get in trouble. Which I didnt and couple weeks later im being charged with tampering with evidence