U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
Review of the Violent Crime Task Forces of the
United States Attorney's Office for the
District of Columbia
Report Number I-99-01
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Operation Ceasefire Program Goal and Objectives
Aggressively Detect and Seize Illegal Firearms
Increase the Penalties for Individuals Convicted of Illegally Possessing Firearms
Educate Youth about the Destructive Potential of Firearms
Safe Streets Program Goal and Objectives
RESULTS OF INSPECTION
Operation Ceasefire Program Accomplishments
Illegal Firearms Seized
Innovative and Effective Training Provided
Individual GRUs Established
GRUs Focused Exclusively on Seizure of Firearms
ATF Assisted in Tracing Seized Firearms
"Firearms Prosecutor" Designated
Standard Debriefing Protocol Established
USAO Expanded Its Debriefing Program
Penalties Increased for Individuals Convicted of Illegally Possessing Firearms
District of Columbia Code Title 22 Section 3204 Amended
District of Columbia Code Title 23 Section 1331 Amended
USAO Introduced Forfeiture Provision to Seize Vehicles
USAO Encouraged Curfew Legislation
USAO Initiated a Youth Education Program
Review of Operation Ceasefire Financial Controls
Quarterly Financial and Progress Reports Not Always Submitted
Accounting Records Reflect Inaccuracies
Overtime Invoices Not Submitted Regularly
Overtime Invoices Reflect Inaccuracies
Overtime Invoices Included Claims for Non-Operation Ceasefire Cases
USAO Reimbursements Exceeded Overtime Limitations
The USAO Did Not Properly Account for Operation Ceasefire Property
Safe Streets Program Accomplishments
Review of Safe Streets Financial Controls
Overtime Invoices Reflect Inaccuracies
APPENDIX I - Scope and Methodology
APPENDIX II - District of Columbia Violent Crime Rates, 1980-1997
APPENDIX III - District of Columbia Part I Index Violent Crimes, 1980-1997
APPENDIX IV - District of Columbia Population, 1980-1997
APPENDIX V - Cumulative GRU Activities and Accomplishments by Category
APPENDIX VI - Executive Office for United States Attorneys' Response to the Draft Report
APPENDIX VII - United States Attorney for the District of Columbia Response to the Draft Report
APPENDIX VIII - Federal Bureau of Investigation Inspections Division Response to the Draft Report
APPENDIX IX - Office of the Inspector General's Analysis of Managements' Responses
MEMORANDUM FOR DONNA A. BUCELLA
EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS
of the Violent Crime Task Forces of the
United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia,
Report Number I-99-01
Attached is the final report on our review of the Violent Crime Task Forces (VCTF) of the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia (USAO), and we are pleased to provide you with the results. The prior Director, Executive Office for United States Attorneys, requested that the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) review its VCTF program. The objectives of our review were to determine whether the VCTF was meeting its program objectives as identified in the task force proposal, whether the task force was expending funds for approved purposes, and whether program managers were providing adequate oversight.
We sent copies of the draft report to your office on August 21, 1998, and requested written comments on the findings and recommendations. We have attached your response as Appendix VI and the USAO's response as Appendix VII, both dated October 26, 1998. The Federal Bureau of Investigation's September 23, 1998, response also is attached as Appendix VIII.
At the request of the United States Attorney, we revised the report to include additional information regarding legislative changes that the USAO achieved separately from the original objectives of Operation Ceasefire.
On the basis of the written comments we received, we consider the five recommendations resolved and open. Appendix IX explains why the recommendations were not closed and what action is needed for closure. Please respond to the recommendations within 90 days of the date of this memorandum. Your response should provide the additional information requested. If actions are not completed within 90 days, please provide projected completion dates. Guidance on report follow-up and resolution can be found in Department of Justice Order 2900.10.
We hope our recommendations will be useful in your efforts to improve and enhance the VCTF operations and the overall VCTF initiative. Please let me know if we can provide you with any additional information. If you have any suggestions as to how we might improve our review process, please let us know.
cc: David Downs
Executive Office for United States Attorneys
Wilma A. Lewis
United States Attorney
District of Columbia
Louis J. Freeh
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Audit Liaison Office
At the request of the Director, Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA), the Office of the Inspector General has completed a review of the Violent Crime Task Forces (VCTF) of the United States Attorney's Office (USAO) for the District of Columbia. The objectives of the inspection were to determine whether the VCTFs met their program objectives as identified in the task force proposals, whether the task forces expended funds for approved purposes, and whether program managers provided adequate oversight.
The USAO received funding to create a gun task force known as Operation Ceasefire. The USAO also received funds so the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) could continue the operations of the fugitive, gang, and homicide squads in its Safe Streets Initiative (Safe Streets). Since the inception of Operation Ceasefire and the USAO's funding of Safe Streets, the USAO has reported to the EOUSA a reduction in the levels of gun-related violence, and success in the apprehension of violent offenders, the investigation and prosecution of violent gang members, and the closure of major homicide cases in the District of Columbia. Since 1995, the violent crime rate has decreased by 15.76 percent and the number of violent crimes reported to police has decreased by 19.75 percent in the District of Columbia. Although we did not determine whether the decrease in violent crime is attributable to the activities of Operation Ceasefire and Safe Streets, we did ascertain that the USAO and FBI conducted activities in support of their objectives.
The USAO's administrative and internal controls over the expenditure of funds for Operation Ceasefire need improvement. Based on our review of the USAO's accounting records and other selected documents, we questioned $78,982 of the Operation Ceasefire costs incurred because of inaccurate or duplicate claims. In addition, the USAO failed to thoroughly review overtime reimbursements to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and failed to enforce the EOUSA's annual overtime limitation resulting in overpayments totaling $78,254. The USAO's Operation Ceasefire accounting records were not accurate, quarterly reports were not prepared, property records were not established, a property inventory was not performed, and property was improperly titled to the District of Columbia.
As of March 31, 1998, the USAO reported the total expenditure of the funds approved for Safe Streets and the expenditure of 86 percent of the funds approved for Operation Ceasefire. We found that the USAO had $123,151 remaining in the Operation Ceasefire operating budget and these funds had not been obligated for a specific purpose. If the USAO decides to use remaining VCTF funds to continue the MPD's gun recovery activities, we believe that the USAO must strengthen the administrative and internals controls over the expenditure of the funds. Specifically, the USAO should ensure that quarterly financial and progress reports are prepared, the accounting records accurately reflect Operation Ceasefire expenditures, the Operation Ceasefire property custodian has been properly trained in the position's responsibilities, the property records have been established for Operation Ceasefire, a property inventory is performed bi-annually, and that titles to the vehicles purchased with VCTF funds are obtained by the USAO and retitled. The USAO should also recover $78,982 in improper reimbursements from the MPD and restore these funds to the Operation Ceasefire account. Additionally, the USAO's reimbursable agreement with the MPD should require the identification of Operation Ceasefire cases on court appearance sheets, and the submission of arrest reports to substantiate that the arrests were made by task force personnel.
We also found that the MPD submitted inaccurate police officer overtime invoices to the FBI for Safe Streets activities. Specifically, the MPD's monthly invoices contained incorrect hourly overtime rates and inaccurate reporting of overtime worked by several of the 26 police officers assigned to the Safe Streets squads. We examined the MPD's payroll records and other overtime documentation. We found some inaccuracies--both understated and overstated--in the MPD's hourly overtime rates and number of hours worked.
We believe that the FBI needs to strengthen its administrative and internal controls over the review of Safe Streets overtime invoices. Our review disclosed that the FBI had not clearly established procedures for reviewing overtime invoices. The FBI needs to clarify the administrative responsibilities of the Washington Field Office (WFO) and the Headquarters' Safe Streets and Gang Unit for reviewing invoices. We suggest that the FBI request annual salary records from the MPD to determine the correct hourly overtime rates for officers assigned to Safe Streets. We also suggest that the FBI meet with MPD's Office of Finance and Budget personnel to ensure that the MPD's monthly overtime invoices identify the correct hourly overtime rates and number of hours worked. In addition, according to the WFO Safe Streets Coordinator, the WFO has an internal policy of not reimbursing the MPD for overtime worked by supervisors assigned to the Safe Streets squads. Therefore, the FBI improperly reimbursed the MPD for a supervisor's overtime. The FBI should obtain $4,489 from the MPD for the supervisor's overtime.