Semiannual Report to Congress

October 1, 2004–March 31, 2005
Office of the Inspector General

Office of Justice Programs and Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

OJP logo

OJP manages the Department’s multi-faceted grant program. Since its inception in 1984, OJP has awarded more than 80,000 grants totaling more than $39 billion for a wide variety of programs to prevent and control crime. OJP has approximately 700 employees and is composed of five bureaus: 1) the Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2) the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 3) the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), 4) the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and 5) the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC).

COPS logo

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) was created as a result of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to advance community policing in jurisdictions of all sizes across the country. COPS provides grants to tribal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to hire and train community policing professionals, acquire and deploy cutting-edge crime-fighting technologies, and develop and test innovative policing strategies.

Reports Issued

No Suspect Casework DNA Backlog Reduction Program

Through the NIJ, OJP administers the No Suspect Casework DNA Backlog Reduction Program, which provides funding to states for the identification, collection, and analysis of DNA samples from evidence collected in cases where no suspect has been developed or in which the original suspect has been eliminated.

Our audit focused on approximately $28.5 million in grants awarded by OJP during the first year of the program. Those funds were distributed to 25 states for the analysis of over 24,700 no-suspect DNA cases. Analyses were to be conducted by the DNA laboratories within the grantee’s state, by outsourcing to state or local laboratories outside the grantee’s state, by outsourcing to contractor laboratories, or by some combination of these methods. Resultant DNA profiles then were to be uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System, a database used by participating state forensic laboratories to compare DNA profiles, with the goal of matching case evidence to other previously unrelated cases or to persons already convicted of specific crimes.

Our audit found that while program grantees were funded for the analysis of over 24,700 backlogged no-suspect cases, current data does not reveal whether increased laboratory capacity to process and analyze no-suspect cases is being achieved, particularly for states that are strictly outsourcing DNA analyses. We also found weaknesses in OJP’s administration and oversight of the program. For example, OJP awarded additional funding to seven grantees that had not shown the ability to effectively draw down and expend their existing grant fundings. In addition, OJP subjected contractor laboratories participating in the program to more stringent certification and accreditation requirements than participating state and local laboratories. OJP also failed to provide adequate guidance to grantees to ensure that all program-funded DNA profiles were ultimately loaded into the national DNA database.

Our audit found that four laboratories did not maintain adequate documentation to substantiate that their oversight of contractor laboratories met certain quality assurance requirements, and that some costs charged to program awards were unallowable or unsupported. We made 19 recommendations to OJP to help improve the program and address issues identified in our audit. Those recommendations included the following:

  • Develop and implement procedures that will allow program officials to more closely monitor grantee draw downs as a means to ensure that adequate progress is being made toward the achievement of each grantee’s goals and objectives;

  • Ensure that timely uploads of program-funded profiles are performed by all grantees;

  • Develop performance measurements for the monitoring of progress toward achieving the program’s mission, such as monitoring laboratory capacity prior to, during, and at the conclusion of the program;

  • Monitor grantees’ progress in using grant funds prior to awarding them additional funding, and closely examine the reasons for requesting additional funding. If funding is awarded, a justification supporting the decision should be carefully documented, specifically addressing the rationale for the untimely draw downs;

  • De-obligate funds for program grantees that have failed to use their program funds in a timely manner and are unable to provide satisfactory evidence that they will be able to do so in the near future; and

  • Ensure that future solicitations clarify the expectation of grantees to ultimately upload all viable grant-funded profiles to the National DNA Index System.

OJP agreed with our recommendations and plans on implementing new or enhanced policies and procedures.

Grants Awarded to Native American and Alaska Native Governments

COPS, OJP, and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) are the primary Department agencies responsible for providing criminal justice grant funding to tribal governments. From FYs 2000 to 2003, these agencies awarded $424.2 million to tribal governments. We audited the overall strategies of COPS, OJP, and OVW for awarding grants to tribal governments, how they monitored tribal grantees, and whether costs charged by grantees were allowable and in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, guidelines, and terms and conditions of the grants.

Our audit revealed that these agencies were not effectively monitoring tribal grant programs. We found that only 4 percent of the 102 grant files we reviewed contained on-site monitoring reports, only 12 percent contained office-based desk reviews, and none contained evidence that telephone monitoring was conducted. Additionally, 81 percent of the grant files reviewed were missing one or more required financial reports, and 80 percent were missing one or more required progress reports. COPS only sporadically required progress reports for its grants, and no progress reports were required for grants awarded after FY 2001. Despite the fact that required financial and progress reports were not submitted for certain grants, none of the 3 agencies prohibited grantees from using funds totaling $10.69 million.

Our audit also disclosed that OJP and OVW did not ensure that funds for tribal grant programs were made available in a timely manner. Grant funds totaling $58.93 million were delayed more than 6 months after the award start date for 199 OJP and OVW grants. Additionally, 78 grants totaling $38.21 million that were awarded prior to FY 2003 had not been used. Those amounts included 40 grants totaling $3 million that had expired.

We found that COPS, OJP, and OVW were not closing out expired grants in a timely manner, which resulted in questioned costs of $6.06 million and $10.95 million in funds that could be put to better use. We reviewed 758 expired tribal grants and found that only 149 (20 percent) had been closed. Only 32 of those grants (21 percent) were closed in a timely manner – within 180 days after the grant expired. We also identified 460 expired grants more than 180 days past the grant end date that had not been closed. Of those grants, 112 were expired for more than 2 years.

Our report contained 53 recommendations to improve the monitoring and administration of tribal-specific grant programs and enhance the Department’s overall strategy for grants awarded to tribal governments. OVW and OJP agreed with most of the recommendations, while COPS agreed with half of the recommendations.

Grant Audits

We continued to audit grants awarded by OJP and COPS. Examples of findings from these audits during this reporting period included the following:

  • The Oglala Sioux Tribe in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, was awarded more than $14.1 million in OJP grant funds to build a correctional facility on tribal lands, provide assistance to victims of crime, stop violence against Indian women, and prevent crime and delinquency by and against tribal youth. We determined that the grantee charged unallowable and unsupported costs to grant funds, received excessive reimbursement, earned interest in excess of the amount allowed by grant regulations, could not support its local matching funds, paid unobligated grant funds and fees to contractors, and did not submit or submitted untimely to OJP most financial status reports and progress reports. As a result, we identified $811,735 in questioned costs and $234,441 in funds that could be put to better use.

  • The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in Choctaw, Mississippi, was awarded nearly $18.2 million in OJP grant funds to stop violence against Indian women, build a correctional facility, provide assistance to victims of crime, and prevent juvenile delinquency and promote the mental health of tribal youth. We determined that the grantee charged unallowable and unsupported costs to grant funds, did not adequately prepare or manage the grant budgets, failed to provide the required matching share of grant costs from tribal funds, and did not submit or submitted untimely to OJP most financial status reports and progress reports. As a result, we identified $191,872 in questioned costs.

  • The Passamaquoddy Tribe and Pleasant Point Reservation Police Department in Perry, Maine, was awarded 7 COPS grants totaling more than $1.3 million to hire and provide training and equipment for police officers. We determined that the grantee failed to provide grants records needed to determine compliance with grant terms and conditions. As a result, we questioned as unsupported the entire $1.3 million for the 4 equipment and technology grants and 3 hiring grants.

  • The Navajo Nation, Division of Public Safety, in the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah was awarded 8 COPS grants totaling more than $14.4 million to hire new police officers and provide training and equipment for new and existing officers. We determined that the grantee only had used funds totaling $1,759,230 for 2 of the 8 grants, and no funds were spent for the remaining 6 grants. As a result, we based our audit on the two grants in which funds were used. For those two grants, we determined that the grantee had charged unallowable and unsupported costs to the grants. As a result, we identified $237,445 in questioned costs.


The following is an example of a case involving COPS that the OIG investigated:

  • In our September 2003 Semiannual Report to Congress, we described an investigation in which a former Kendleton, Texas, police chief and a former police captain were arrested on charges of extortion, conspiracy, and fraud. A joint investigation conducted by the OIG’s Houston Area Office, FBI, and Texas Rangers developed evidence that the police chief and captain conspired to make materially false statements to the COPS grant program and defraud the government of grant money earmarked to hire new police officers. According to the allegations, the officers falsely claimed that more than $200,000 in grant funds received had been used to hire 6 new police officers, but instead the funds were used to pay the police chief’s salary. The investigation also developed evidence that the police chief and captain operated an extortion scheme in which police officers used “speed traps” to extort from civilians sums of money above those set by state law and then pocketed the money collected from the scheme. During this reporting period, the police chief was convicted by a federal jury on all 52 counts and the police captain pled guilty. Sentencing is pending for both.

Ongoing Work

COPS’ Methamphetamine Initiative

In 1998, the methamphetamine initiative was established by Congress and administered by COPS to help alleviate the spread of methamphetamine. Since then, COPS has invested more than $350 million nationwide to combat the spread of methamphetamine. The OIG is assessing the adequacy of COPS’ administration of methamphetamine initiative grants and its monitoring of grantee activities. We also are evaluating the extent to which the grantees have administered grants in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, guidelines, and terms and conditions of the grant awards.

OVC’s Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program

OVC was created in 1984 to assist crime victims with recovery from physical, emotional, and psychological injury. The OIG is reviewing OVC to determine whether: 1) timely assistance was provided to jurisdictions in order to address victim needs in the aftermath of an act of terrorism or mass violence, 2) the eligibility of applicants was properly ascertained, and 3) the purposes for funding grants were allowable.

NIJ’s Antiterrorism Technology Development Program

Pursuant to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, the NIJ sponsors the development of counterterrorism technologies through its collaborations with various technology partners. The OIG is reviewing the NIJ’s Antiterrorism Technology Development Program to: 1) determine whether program funds were awarded for projects that satisfy the intent of the program, 2) assess the adequacy of program oversight, 3) determine whether grantees have used program funds in accordance with grant requirements, and 4) assess the adequacy of the program’s progress toward meeting its goals and objectives.

OVC’s Tribal Victim Assistance Grant Program

OVC initiated the Tribal Victim Assistance Discretionary Grant Program in 1988 to establish, expand, and improve direct service victim assistance programs for federally recognized tribes. From FYs 2000 to 2003, OVC awarded 56 grants totaling $6.76 million. The OIG is examining grantee performance information to determine whether grant objectives are being achieved.

Previous Page Back to Table of Contents Next Page