Imagine that you work for the inspector general’s office as an internal affairs investigator for the U.S. Department of Justice. Your current investigation involves an agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with 18 years on the job. The agent has numerous commendations and awards for successfully arresting some of the most violent drug traffickers in the world. He is 41 years old, and his wife is 39 years old.
A paid DEA informant has alleged that the agent is corrupt, and has been selling illegal drugs on the street.
In opening the case, you conduct some preliminary inquiries, and learn through informal sources that the agent’s wife has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Rumor has it that her only option is a stem-cell transplant, which is not covered by the DEA health insurance plan. The medical procedure is estimated to cost about 300,000 dollars. You can relate to this agent’s situation since you lost your own spouse a couple of years ago to cancer as well.
There are many things running through your mind. Do you call the agent under investigation (he does not know about the internal affairs case) and inquire about his wife’s health? Or do you not concern yourself with the potential reason for his alleged actions? Do you seek help from other investigators, or keep this information to yourself? Should you turn this investigation over to another staff member?