Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a report examining the United States Marshals Service’s (USMS) administration of its Joint Law Enforcement Operations (JLEO) funds. JLEO funds are used to reimburse state and local law enforcement for costs incurred during law enforcement operations with federal law enforcement agencies. Allowable uses of JLEO funds include overtime, travel, fuel, training, and equipment. From October 2015 to August 2019, the USMS expended $97.5 million in JLEO funds, primarily for overtime reimbursements.
The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that USMS generally had adequate internal controls to ensure it used JLEO funds for appropriate expenses, and that it made additional improvements to those controls during and after our audit. However, the OIG did identify areas for improvement, including:
- The USMS did not always comply with its policies when reimbursing state and local law enforcement agencies for overtime. The USMS approved overtime reimbursements to agencies totaling $508,720 that were not fully supported. An additional $1.6 million in overtime reimbursements were approved even though the documentation provided to justify the reimbursement requests lacked the required supervisory approval. We also found that timesheets had hand-written changes without indication of who made the change or why it occurred, and that the methods for calculating the overtime rate for task force officers were inconsistent among participating state and local law enforcement agencies.
- The USMS could not determine whether all purchased vehicles were still in use for task for operations or properly returned to the USMS for disposition. During FYs 2012 through 2016, the USMS purchased with JLEO funds 1,609 vehicles for approximately $53.9 million. DOJ policy requires that vehicles must be available to the task force as long as the task force is in existence. However, at the time of our audit, the USMS could not determine whether all purchased vehicles were still in use for task force operations or whether the state and local law enforcement agencies had properly returned the vehicles to the USMS for disposition. In FY 2017, the DOJ no longer permitted the USMS to purchase vehicles with JLEO funds.
Today’s report makes five recommendations to assist the USMS in improving its administration of JLEO funds. The USMS’s formal response did not state whether it agreed or disagreed with the recommendations but described its planned actions to address each recommendation.
Report: Today’s report is available on the OIG’s website under “Recent Reports” and at the following link: https://oig.justice.gov/reports/2020/a2044.pdf.