The following comments are provided in response to the conclusions and recommendations
set forth in the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General's (OIG) draft audit
report of the Management of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Safe Streets Fugitive
I. IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED TO INCREASE THE EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF TASK FORCE OPERATIONS
1. Redirect or reallocate the $3.7 million associated with the seven task forces with operational deficiencies.
2. Direct the Special Agent in Charge of the Houston Field Office to pursue a means of combining the efforts of the two task forces.
3. Periodically assess the national universe of active violent crime warrants to target areas with greatest need.
4. Measure each task force's impact by periodically comparing its arrests and locates to the universe of violent crime warrants and reconfigure task force locations based on need.
5. Follow-up on the task forces with low warrant universes and the locations without task forces that exhibited high warrant universes, and reallocate resources if necessary.
The OIG concluded this section noting that the FBI's Safe Streets initiative has matured to the point where the FBI should more frequently evaluate the need for continuing specific task forces and periodically assess their processes and operational achievements. To best utilize staff resources and funds, the OIG believes that FBI management should ascribe a high priority to reassessing the use of resources.
In its report, the OIG identified four operational weaknesses that necessitate the redirection of task force resources or the reorganization of seven of the 20 task forces that were reviewed by the OIG. They are as follows:
Declining impact (P.4)
The OIG noted that none of the 20 reviewed task forces were measuring their effect on the universe of outstanding violent crime warrants and that the FBI was only comparing and tracking statistical accomplishments (i.e., arrests and locates.) Also, the OIG pointed out that the FBI had failed to recognize that the task force in Charlotte, North Carolina and the task force in Mobile, Alabama had little activity and needed closer scrutiny. The FBI contends, however, that Safe Streets Task Forces (SSTFs) are formed to address identified crime problems. The warrant universe alone is not the only measure for requiring a task force. The underlying violations for which the warrants were issued are the actual crime problems. However, the FBI agrees that simply comparing statistical accomplishments between specific periods is not sufficient to measure the impact a SSTF is having on a crime problem. Appropriate performance measures are being developed, in conjunction with the implementation of the Government Performance and Results Act, that will adequately measure impact.
The Charlotte and Mobile SSTFs are combined Violent Crime/Fugitive Task Forces. Less than two Agent workyears were devoted to fugitive matters in Charlotte during Fiscal Year ~Y) 1996 and through the first six months of FY 1997. Less than one Agent workyear was devoted in Mobile to fugitive matters during FY 1996 and through the first six months of FY 1997. These figures indicate that the overwhelming majority of FBI effort on these SSTFs was directed at violent crime investigations and not at locating fugitives. This is consistent with the assessment of a low warrant universe. Maintaining violent fugitive apprehensions as part of the overall broad-based mission of the SSTF allows the FBI flexibility to address these matters as needed. Also, it is important to remember that fugitive matters addressed by the task force include investigative leads on Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution (UFAP) matters as well as qualifying Preliminary Inquiries (PIs) received from participating agencies.
Task Forces Not Managed by the FBI (P.4)
In response to the OIG's finding that the El Paso, Texas task force and the Kansas City, Missouri task force were not under the direct management of FBI supervisors, the El Paso Division has made administrative corrections to enhance FBI leadership of its task force. These changes include opening PIs on all cases assigned to state and local task force personnel as well as to FBI Agents. This insures review by the FBI Supervisor prior to initiating any fugitive investigation. As noted in the report, the problems identified in Kansas City were corrected following the IG review and prior to publication of the draft report.
Local Participation Declining (P.4)
The limited state and local participation problem found by the OIG for the Sacramento, California task force has been addressed. As noted in the report, the Sacramento Fugitive Task Force was closed effective 10/1/96. The San Juan, Puerto Rico task force issue is being addressed as part of the overall San Juan Caribbean Initiative. The fugitive aspects of the initiative will be addressed by the United States Marshal Service (USMS) and by the FBI's redirected resources.
Inappropriate Task Force Cases (P.5)
The OIG noted that the Tampa Fugitive Task Force was not pursuing cases in accord with the terms of its initial agreement and FBI guidelines. As a result of the OIG's analysis and after subsequent review by the Tampa SAC along with the heads of the participating agencies, the Tampa Fugitive Task Force was closed.
Potential Duplication (P.6)
The OIG found that two different task forces were targeting the same types of violent crime fugitives in Houston, Texas. The FBI acknowledges that the dual task force situation has been problematic for some time. However, prior to the OIG review, the SSTF and the Gulf Coast Task Force (GCTF) had established clear guidelines regarding what types of fugitive investigations would be addressed by each entity. Duplication of effort is avoided through the Sheriff's computerized tracking system noted in the report. It is further noted that the GCTF is primarily funded through an Office of Justice Program grant which decreases annually and will expire after FY 1998. As a result, the GCTF has recently made overtures to the FBI about merging the task forces. The main impediment to a total merger is that the GCTF addresses many fugitive matters that do not meet the threshold level for a Fugitive SSTF or Attorney General Guidelines for the initiation of Fugitive P1's. Discussions are currently underway between the two task forces and the Safe Streets and Gangs Unit (SSGU). Therefore, the on-site review originally scheduled for the week of 6/2/97 has been postponed until late August or early September, 1997.
Mapping Suggests Task Forces Not in Areas of Greatest Need. (P.7)
Using a mapping procedure that compares the placement of task forces with the number of active fugitive warrants in a specific area, the OIG suggests that the FBI does not always place its task forces in locations with large universes of outstanding warrants. In addition, the OIG notes that the FBI has task forces in cities where there are relatively small universes of outstanding fugitive warrants. The mapping concept included in the OIG report is a useful tool for assessing the need for a Fugitive SSTF and for allocating resources. However, a comparison over time of such mapping data, rather than a single point in time, is a more appropriate measure. The SSGU will periodically evaluate the mapping data to assess the need for a SSTF, to determine the need to reallocate resources, and to measure the impact of established Fugitive SSTFs. It is important to note that the mapping data alone (that is, the universe of warrants) is not the sole determinant for forming a SSTF.
The reason the FBI has no Fugitive SSTFs in Atlanta, Georgia and Salt Lake City, Utah,
even though they appear to have a significant number of active warrants, is because there
are other long established multi-agency cooperative fugitive efforts in place which
negates the need to establish a SSTF. The Albany, New York data is skewed as this is the
location of the New York State Police Headquarters as well as several other State agencies
that enter information into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Wanted Persons
file from a central location regardless of where the warrant was actually issued in the
State. Conversely, the OIG cited cities where, according to its NCIC warrants mapping
procedure, there were relatively few outstanding warrants, yet a task force existed in
each city. The cities cited were: Savannah, Grand Rapids, Omaha, Charlotte, Greensboro,
Canton, Columbus and Toledo. The FBI's response to this finding uses the same rationale
addressed earlier with respect to Charlotte and Mobile. (See P.2.) The SSTFs in these
cities are violent crimes/fugitive task forces where the FBI's primary investigative
mission and focus is directed primarily at violent crimes investigations and not at
locating and apprehending fugitives.
II. BETTER ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROLS COULD INCREASE ADHERENCE WITH FUGITIVE TASK FORCE GUIDELINES
1. Instruct the Headquarters Safe Streets Unit Managers to develop and implement a schedule to perform comprehensive reviews of individual fugitive task forces within the next two years. Task forces not reviewed in detail by the OIG should be given priority.
2. Revise all on-site review guides to include a section for determining each task force's compliance with FBI fugitive task force guidelines. This should specifically address the use of preliminary inquiries and case file documentation.
The weakness in the on-site review process was recognized prior to the IG review,
however, available manpower and financial resource constraints precluded modification of
the in-place process. As a result of funding from the Violent Crime Reduction Program in
support of SSTFs, money has been set aside to allow for on-site reviews to be conducted by
SSGU personnel. The "Check List for on-site Review" was revised 1/27/97 and was
furnished to all FBI Field Offices by electronic communication (EC), dated 2/19/97. This
EC also advised Field Offices that, effective immediately, on-site reviews would be
conducted by SSGU personnel. An on-site review schedule has been developed in coordination
with the Inspection Schedule for Field Offices. The Office of Inspections has been
provided with a copy of the checklist. Also, prior to each scheduled inspection, the
Office of Inspections is furnished a detailed financial, operational, and administrative
briefing document about all SSTFs in the Field Office. These are almost always followed by
a meeting of the responsible SSGU Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) and Inspection Team
Leader prior to the beginning of the field office inspection. As a result, it is planned
that each SSTF will receive a comprehensive review approximately every 18 months.
III. DEPUTATION OF STATE AND LOCAL TASK FORCE MEMBERS COULD BE STREAMLINED
1. Seek the Attorney General's concurrence, after consultation with the USMS, to delegate deputation authority to the FBI for the limited purpose of providing special deputation to state and local members of FBI Safe Streets task forces.
The SSGU, through the Interagency Working Group on Violent Crime has begun discussions with the USMS concerning a change in the deputation process for state and local SSTF law enforcement personnel.
The FBI has no major objections to the findings and information presented in the OIG's draft audit report. However, the FBI concludes that the section headings and "Table of Contents" do not properly reflect the information contained in the report and offers the following section headings to more accurately reflect the content of the information presented:
I. EFFECTIVENESS OF TASK FORCE OPERATIONS
Mapping as a Tool to Assess Resource Needs
II. ADHERENCE WITH FUGITIVE TASK FORCE GUIDELINES
Task Force Monitoring
III. STREAMLINING DEPUTATION OF STATE AND LOCAL TASK FORCE MEMBERS
Cumbersome Deputation Process