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Rachel-K
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Three Seconds: Police Work

[ Edited ]
 

What do we know about the murder victim so far?

 

We've observed two teams working for the Swedish Police: Ewert Grens with Mariana Hermansson and Sven Sundkvist, and Erik Wilson with Piet Hoffmann. Can you compare the ways each of these teams work, their characters, and what they do?

 

Do they even seem to be a part of the same organization?

 

How do you compare Grens and Wilson as investigators?

 

We also see an older and a younger set of officers in the police force. Grens, Nils, and Einarsson (from the basement) are examples of older officers. How do these two groups compare? Are their differences in attitudes and work styles that you see?

 

Why is there such an increase in the use of undercover civilians (CHIS) in the police force?

 

 

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dhaupt
Posts: 11,832
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

Hmm, what we know about the murder victim is that he was a Danish counterpart to Hoffmann.

 

The two different teams working on this case are very different indeed and it reminds me of articles I've read in the past about local authorities unknowingly overlapping a cover operation of the FBI/DEA etc. and that is what's happening here and it seems that the covert team leader Wilson wants very much not to have Grens working on this case. I remember a comment that Wilson made to himself at the end of Tuesday page 100 the very last sentence where Wilson describes Grens as " The detective superintendent who would never close his investigation" another words Grens is a scent hound and won't give it up for anything

 

I think the reason we're seeing more civilian informers in this novel is for cost purposes for the authorities, it's a win win for them. They're expendable in whatever situation that befalls them.

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high96
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎11-03-2010

Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

Murder Victim:

 

  1. Danish citizen (informer)
  2. Swedish born and raised
  3. male code name of Carsten
  4. weak cover story 
  5. in on Swedish operation unsupported by Danish police due to out of country location
Police Teams
  1. Grens et al  : Grens is the lead. Saddened by loss of wife/unsolved crime involving her which led to her decline and demise. Decides to put away his loss and needs something else to focus on when the murder case is given to him. I feel this will make him unwilling to not pursue the case.  Sundkvist; doesn't like the grisly scene/sight of blood, sent to talk to possible witnesses. Hermansson doesn't really appear to be much of a player in the first part of this book to me.
  2. Wilson and Hoffman: Wilson dedicated to his informants. Feels that he has ability to judge their character. Concerned about the safety of Hoffman. Meticulous, detail-oriented as evidenced by routes and routines for communication with Hoffman. Likes Hoffman and thinks that he will not turn against wishes of the police in the end. Defends Hoffman to his supervisor and goes above him to have meeting with Secretary to make a deal. Has built an extensive cover for Hoffman updating it and including many lies: if Wilson were to die,  Hoffman would be up the figurative creek without a paddle...like in the movie The Departed.        Hoffman is torn about his dual lives. He loves his wife and children and promised himself not to involve them or lie to them. I believe they are his weakness and will cause a problem in the future
Increase in CHIS in the police force  possibly due to budget constraints and ability of prior criminals to blend with current criminals as well as increase in the drug trafficking, sex trafficking that  is occurring

 

"I don't like secrets! All this cooking, and reading, and TV watching, while we... read and cook! It's like you're involving me in crime, and I let you! Why do I let you?" --Emile in "Ratatouille"
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LorettaP
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Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

The murder victim was working for the police as an infomant. He must have been new and unsure about the role he was required to play. The police also did not do a very good job at creating him a criminal record.

 

Erik and Piet are targeting drug trafficking and organized crime. Whereas Ewart, Mariana and Sven are detectives. They solve murders and other crimes but are not soley targeting the mafia. I think Grens and Wilson are both very throrough investigators. Grens is probably a little more dedicated and will not give up until he has solved his cases.

 

The increase in undercover civilians in the police force is to combat the mafia and the drug trafficking. It is more believable to have a convict infiltrate than to have a police officer. A police officer would be recognized for what they really are and would be killed. A convict that was released from prison would have the knowledge and the stomach for the work they would be required to do.

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tmcb
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Registered: ‎07-24-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

I think that civilians are used more in undercover assignments because they are expendable. If something goes wrong while undercover, the police can claim no involvement since the would be no record of police going undercover. It serves as a nice cover up to a situation that doesn't go as planned. For example, say it was piet that was murdered at the begining. The police could come in say that piet was an ex-con and had taken up with the mafia and it was a drug deal gone bad. Then it wouldn't reflect bad on the police.

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TheBookNut
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Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

Yes, I believe Grens' personality shows that he will stick to it and not let it go.  He will do what it takes to solve his cases based on his apparent grieving that he still cannot let go of.  Very different way of working than Piet.  Not sure that I like the way Grens works though.

 

And whether or not an undercover civilian is believable with whomever they are infilitrating, they definately are expendable.  The police wouldn't have to claim them at all if they lose them to either being ratted out or murdered. 

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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

Our murder victim foolishly thought that if he said he was a police officer, his life would be spared. Not so. He was working undercover with the police, but made a deadly mistake. He was a Danish citizen, and his murder affected Piet deeply, showing him that death was close by all the time.

 

Ewert Grens is a thoughtful, methodical officer. Yes, he is still deep in grief and is getting rid of reminders, but he seems to be able to have more than one thing going on in his mind at a time. He reminds me of Columbo - a seemingly awkward detective who doesn't seem to know what is going on, yet solves the crime by being methodical. I will have to wait and see how that plays out in the book.

 

I like the older team of police officers because they seem very real to me. Their personal feelings are there for us to see, and that makes them human. But I don't like the use of so many undercover civilians. They seem expendible and not important.

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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love2overanalyze
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Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

The murder victim so far is Danish and was working for the police. I'm wondering though if maybe the guy wasn't an actual officer himself. That might explain why he botched the answers when Piet was asking him who he knew. And why he panicked and started saying he was the police. I think that he didn't just work for the police he actually was one!!! (just a theory)

 

I do not think that the two teams working for the Swedish Police are part of the same organization. I think Grens, Hermansson, and Sundkvist are like an outer shell of the force while Wilson and Hoffmann are part of an internal core setup of some sort. They seem to keep each other (the two different teams) out of the loop with some things.

 

I think the increase in the use of undercover civilians is to keep up with the increase in crime and drugs happening in their area.

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mommybooknerd
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Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

Let's have a place for the whole book discussion...I am bursting to talk about the whole book...

You are the author of your own life story.
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Vosges
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎08-13-2010

Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

*****What do we know about the murder victim so far?

 

I believe the the most important thing we know of the victim so far is that he was a  law enforcement officer acting undercover.  This puts up a stark contrast to Hoffman as a ex(?) criminal working undercover.  Hoffman's background gives him an edge that the officers did not - as played out in Hoffman keeping his cool and trying to figure out how to handle the situation while the officer panicked and revealed himself to his executioner by the slip of one simple word.

 

While the execution starts the events, it also serves to highlights Hoffman's instinctive talents that lend credibility for ability to get so deep into the mafia's operation.

 

*****Why is there such an increase in the use of undercover civilians (CHIS) in the police force?

 

I understand the views that it's more economical and easier for the police to use civilians/criminals in their undercover operations. There are two other factors involved here as well.  The first being that Swedish police are prohibited from participating in illegal activity in the performance of their duties and therefore aren't able to perform undercover operations at that depth.  The other factor in their increased need is due to the expanded activities of the criminal organizations. As the number of 'security firms' grows and expands into the Swedish market, so must the ranks of those working undercover.

 

These two questions actually come together to form a third question that I'm hoping to see played out more in the book: Is it better to use ex-criminals in undercover work?

 

Using officers increases loyalty and lessens the chance of procedural errors during the course of the operation, while the opposite is true with the other.  The criminals, however, have an edge in both mindset and experience and possibly prior reputation at times.  

 

This is just one of the many subtleties I'm enjoying so far with this book...

 

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Lis49
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎11-03-2010

Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

     Ewert and Sven are older, with Mariana and Erik being younger.  Ewert respects and likes Mariana where Sven doesn't seem to know what Erik is doing.  Ewert and Mariana are detectives looking at the whole picture where Sven analyzes data and Erik deals with infiltrators.  Ewert, Mariana and Sven seem to be functioning together and Erik does not.

Grens sees black and white and is persistent where Erik functions in the grey areas. Grens, Nils and Einarsson seem to be on the same team.  The younger ones have not devoted their whole lives to the job and want to have a life outside of work.  Sven has only the job in his life.

      The high ups seem to think that only a criminal can get the information needed.  The criminals also work cheap.  They are willing to make more risks and can be manipulated easily.

 

Lis49
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DSaff
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Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

You must have really enjoyed the book, and that's great. But with people still without their books, I hope we stick to the schedule for now.  :smileyhappy:

 


mommybooknerd wrote:

Let's have a place for the whole book discussion...I am bursting to talk about the whole book...


 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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Superbookworm
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Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

Wow you guys are so way ahead of me.  I'm still trying to keep all the characters and names straight.

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DSaff
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Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

I have only read the first section for discussion.  :smileywink:


Superbookworm wrote:

Wow you guys are so way ahead of me.  I'm still trying to keep all the characters and names straight.


 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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tamarindo
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎11-03-2010

Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

I like Donna's comment likening Grens to Columbo.  Grens does remind me of him, hehe!  Though eccentric, he leaves no stone unturned - even through his grief over having lost his wife.  While his higher-ups are concerned about wasting resources on a case w/ seemingly few leads, he questions the facts about the case from all angles until he generates his own lead, triangulating on Piet for further clues to solving the murder.

 

As for the use of ex-cons as informants, there are two trains of thought, as someone else has already mentioned in this discussion.  They provide that factor of expendability for the police who use them, minimizing "collateral damage" in case things go awry (*great* movie, btw, w/ Jamie Fox and Tom Cruise).  If the sting operation goes south, they can always and easily burn their informants, as Piet is so cautioned.  At the same time, the fact that these civilian informants are ex-cons also provides the police with the advantage that these former criminals may be able to rely on their former connections and any they may have established or strengthened while in prison to advance the operation.  They may be more familiar w/ the lingo and be able to walk the walk w/ greater ease and credibility than undercover officers might be able to, allowing the police to infiltrate criminal operations more successfully and possibly in a shorter amount of time than had they relied on their undercover officers.

 

Having said that, my guess is that the decision to burn an ex-con informant is far greater than the added value (if one could measure such a thing) that the ex-con's criminal network brings to the table.  (Hmmm, my logic on that one wasn't 100%, but you know what I mean!  I hope??)

 

 

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mystery-woman
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎04-02-2010

Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

Carsten, the murder victim, was a Dane.  He was an CHIS like Paula.  He, unlike Paula, was not the smooth undercover operative, although, an operative is only as good as his cover.  He was panicky, Paula is not.

 

Grens, Hermansson, and Sundkvist are a trio of contradictions.  Grens is a bulldog a fighter. Hermansson and Sundkvist are obviously younger and less experienced than Grens, but professional. Wilson and Hoffmann are cool, but panicked inside. They are smooth operators, but after their escapes are full of nerves.  They never show their emotion except when alone.

The Grens team is constantly pushing to see what they can find while Wilson and Hoffmann seem to plod along waiting to see what happens next and then react to the situation.

 

The two groups do not seem to be a part of the same organization, even though they are.  They work separately of each other, but in many ways for the same goals.

 

Grens and Wilson are very different. Grens is "type A" personality, constantly thinking about his case.  At the moment, work is what Grens lives for as his beloved Anni is gone.  Wilson, if he has a family is never mentioned. His concern is Paula.  He is calm and cool, at least on the exterior.

 

As for undercover civilians, I do believe it is because they are expendable, if necessary.  Also they do not demand benefits with their job such as, insurance.  As such, they are cheap labor. 

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maxcat
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Registered: ‎11-01-2006
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Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

The murder victim is Danish and an infiltraitor for the Poles. He went by the name Carsten.

Grens and Wright go about police work in their own way. Grens was about to leave the police force, grieving over his wife's death and boxing up cassettes, when this murder occured and he was put on the case. He's very thorough in working a crime scene and even goes to Denmark to meet the man who could identify him under secrecy. It seems once he is on a case, he will not give up until the murderer is caught. Wright goes about police work undercover. He meets clients to see if they would make potential informants. He met Piet and Piet passed all the questions asked. Now Erik wants Piet to infiltrate the prisons and start drug dealing there. He will have to do time in order to get this accomplished.

I think civilians are used as infiltrators to gangs who deal with drugs and sex trafficking. They pretty much haveto know what they are doing or be dead.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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jtyra0425
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Registered: ‎06-28-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

I think in the book there is an increase in the use of civilians to do undercover work due to the expendibility of civilians.  We use it daily all over the world.  I think in the book it is used to protect the higher ups in the government so as not to bring any disgrace to the those who know that a sting operation is about to happen.

Jodi Tyra
"Children have a short time to grow and a lifetime to live with the results" MAGIC Foundation Motto
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clodia2
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Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

Me too, although it's difficult for me to stop... I knew if I started in Part 2, things would get bad very quickly.   LOL  And Super, you're not the only one.  I finally think I got it, though.  :smileywink:

 


DSaff wrote:

I have only read the first section for discussion.  :smileywink:


Superbookworm wrote:

Wow you guys are so way ahead of me.  I'm still trying to keep all the characters and names straight.


 


 

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Lildove3
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Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: Three Seconds: Police Work

At times,it seems the two teams working for the sweedish police have their own ideas as to how

to handle situations. In todays world it's not uncommon for police to use informants to get to

where they need to be in the case,it happens all the time. At different intervaults,I have gotten

the impression these two groups do not act like they belong to the same organiztion.