Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of an audit report examining the United States Marshals Service’s (USMS) controls over weapons, munitions, and explosives. The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that the USMS generally had strong physical controls over its weapons, munitions, and explosives, as well as strong inventory controls over explosives. However, the OIG identified significant deficiencies related to tracking weapons, ammunition, and less lethal munitions, as well as noncompliance with ammunition policy requirements.
The specific findings in the report released today include:
- Weapons Purchases. In fiscal years (FY) 2017 and 2018, the USMS purchased 110 firearms that were in its possession for as long as 16 months, but were not recorded in the USMS property management system. This created a risk that the firearms could be lost, misplaced, stolen, or otherwise compromised without detection.
- Lost and Stolen Firearms. Between FY 2015 and April 2018, the USMS reported 23 lost or stolen firearms, but did not track whether the firearms were recovered after the completion of the USMS Internal Affairs investigation.
- Ammunition Tracking. The OIG identified nearly 2.45 million rounds of ammunition that were not tracked by USMS prior to the initiation of the audit. Further, the USMS’s ammunition tracking requirements are not explicitly stated in its existing policy and the USMS does not currently assess whether its districts and divisions are complying with its ammunition tracking requirements.
- Less Lethal Munitions. The USMS does not require that less lethal munitions and diversionary devices be tracked and inventoried. As a result, with the exception of flash bang grenades, these items were not being tracked.
The OIG also identified areas where the USMS’s policies should be strengthened to improve the safeguarding of its weapons and munitions. The OIG’s report made 7 recommendations to improve the USMS’s controls over its weapons, ammunition, and less lethal munitions. The USMS agreed with all 7 recommendations.
Video: To accompany today’s report, the OIG has released a 2-minute video featuring the Inspector General discussing the report’s findings. The video and a downloadable transcript are available at the following link: https://oig.justice.gov/multimedia/video-09-25-18.htm.