Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a report examining the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) Anti-Heroin Task Force (AHTF) Program. Since fiscal year 2015, Congress has appropriated funds for the COPS Office to award competitive AHTF Program grants to state law enforcement agencies to investigate, through statewide collaboration, the unlawful distribution of heroin, fentanyl, carfentanyl, and prescription opioids.
The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found several areas for improvement, including:
- Standard Operating Procedures. The COPS Office does not have a written standard operating procedure that provides guidance to its division and sections on how to work together to administer and oversee program grants. Instead, COPS Office personnel relied on an array of memoranda, manuals, and program-specific award guides that did not encompass all grant program lifecycle activities.
- Performance Measures. Prior to fiscal year 2020, the performance measures that the COPS Office had implemented for the AHTF Program did not align with the program’s authorizing legislation or goals. We also found that the progress reports collected by the COPS Office prior to fiscal year 2020 did not capture information about critical AHTF Program activities and some progress reports were incomplete and included inaccurate data.
- Collaboration with DOJ Components. We found a need for the COPS Office to better collaborate and coordinate with other DOJ components, specifically during the post-award phase.
Today’s report makes four recommendations pertaining to that the COPS Office administration and oversight controls of grants, assessment of the program’s success and its collaboration strategy with DOJ components. The COPS Office concurred with all the recommendations.