Office of Justice Programs
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
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 (BJA), 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.
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.
The OIG continued to audit grants awarded by OJP and COPS. Examples of findings from these audits during this reporting period included the following:
- The University of New Hampshire (UNH) in Durham, New Hampshire, was awarded two grants from OJP to fund research and development efforts as part of the Consolidated Advanced Technologies for Law Enforcement Program, which is located at UNH. We determined that UNH failed to fully comply with grant requirements, did not spend all available funds, did not exercise adequate management and control over grant budgets, and charged direct cost expenditures to the grants for purchases that were not approved in the budgets. As a result, we identified more than $1.2 million in grant funds recommended to be put to better use and are questioning an additional $577,605 in grant funds received. We reported total dollar-related findings of nearly $1.8 million, which is approximately
17 percent of the total funding for both grants.
- Prairie View Prevention Services in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was awarded three grants from COPS to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in reducing the production, distribution, and use of methamphetamine. The three congressionally-earmarked grants totaled nearly $2.1 million. While Prairie View was compliant with grant budget management and control requirements, we found non-compliance issues such as unsupported salaries and fringe benefits as well as excessive drawdowns of grant funds in advance of incurring grant-related expenditures. We also found that Prairie View did not comply with OMB requirements and Financial Status Reports and Progress Reports were not always submitted in a timely manner. Additionally, Financial Status Reports were not always accurate and indirect costs were incorrectly allocated. As a result, we reported total questioned costs of $485,124.
- The Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was awarded a grant from OJP to fund the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative. The nearly $2.2 million grant was awarded to provide funding to develop, implement, and evaluate reentry strategies to ensure the safety of the community and the reduction of serious violent crime. We found that CDOC transferred funds between budget categories exceeding 10 percent of the award amount, a violation of OJP financial guidelines. The grantee also was reimbursed $87,710 for costs charged to the grant that either were not supported or were not allowable. Moreover, CDOC failed to adequately monitor its subgrantee or contractors and Progress Reports were not always submitted timely. As a result, we reported total dollar-related findings of $349,084.
The following are examples of cases involving OJP or COPS that the OIG's Investigations Division investigated during this reporting period:
- A joint investigation by the OIG's Dallas Field Office, FBI, and Arkansas State Police led to the arrest of a former detective with the Crittenden County, Arkansas, Sheriff's Department on charges of theft. In 1997, the Sheriff's Department placed the detective in charge of applying for and managing federal funds obtained through the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant program administered by the BJA. Investigators developed evidence that the detective devised a scheme to steal some of the funds by establishing a fictitious company to purchase law enforcement equipment for the Sheriff's Department. Instead of purchasing equipment, the detective channeled funds totaling more than $27,000 into his personal bank account. He pled guilty in the Eastern District of Arkansas to an information charging him with theft from an organization receiving federal funds. Sentencing is pending.
- An investigation by the OIG's Fraud Detection Office led to the arrest of a former administrative assistant at the Neighborhood Youth and Parent Prevention Partnership (NYPPP) - which is partially funded by OJP grants - on charges of fraud and embezzlement from an organization receiving federal funds. OIG investigators determined that, from September 1999 to September 2003, the administrative assistant embezzled more than $30,000 by writing checks to herself for "salary advances" or to reimburse herself for fraudulent "official expenses." The administrative assistant pled guilty in the Western District of Michigan; was sentenced to 30 days' incarceration, 9 months' home confinement, and 3 years' supervised release; and was ordered to pay $30,576 in restitution.
- In our March 2005 Semiannual Report to Congress, we discussed a case in which a former Texas police chief was convicted in the Southern District of Texas on 52 counts 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, along with a former Texas police captain, conspired to make materially false statements to the COPS grant program and defraud the government of grant funds. During this reporting period, the former police chief was sentenced to 63 months' incarceration followed by 3 years' supervised release.
NIJ's Antiterrorism Technology Development Program
Pursuant to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, NIJ sponsors the development of counterterrorism technologies through its collaborations with various technology partners. The OIG is reviewing 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.
COPS' Methamphetamine Initiative
In 1998, Congress established a methamphetamine initiative administered by COPS to help address the spread of methamphetamine. Since then, COPS has invested more than $350 million nationwide to combat the spread of methamphetamine. The OIG is assessing 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.
U.S. Attorneys' Offices
U.S. Attorneys serve as the federal government's principal criminal and civil litigators and conduct most of the trial work in which the United States is a party. Under the direction of the Attorney General, 93 U.S. attorneys are stationed throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. More than 11,700 employees work in those offices and in the EOUSA.
The following are examples of cases involving the USAO that the OIG's Investigations Division investigated during this reporting period:
- An investigation by the OIG's Washington Field Office led to the arrest and guilty plea of a USAO employee on charges of conflict of interest. The employee, acting as coordinator for the Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (LECC) Program for the USAOs' Middle District of Louisiana from June 1994 to February 2003, had the authority to hire government vendors to conduct training for state and local law enforcement agencies. Investigators developed evidence that the employee negotiated with a consulting firm to provide training seminars and subsequently arranged for the consulting firm to hire his wife to plan and coordinate these seminars. He also recommended that the LECC coordinator for the Western District of Texas hire the consulting firm to conduct training seminars in that District. As a result of these business dealings, the consulting firm paid the coordinator's wife more than $55,000. The coordinator, in turn, directly received more than $20,000 from this business arrangement. Sentencing is pending.
- The OIG opened an investigation after learning that the background reinvestigation of an AUSA revealed that he had failed to file income tax returns for the years 2000 to 2003. The investigation confirmed that the AUSA lied in a Department form and to OIG agents about his failure to file. Prosecution of the case was declined. The AUSA resigned from his position as a result of the investigation.
The USAOs' Use of Intelligence Research Specialists
The OIG is assessing whether the USAO makes effective use of its Intelligence Research Specialists to analyze and share terrorism-related information. The review will examine three areas: the purpose and implementation of the positions, the types of work Intelligence Research Specialists are producing, and how the work is disseminated and used.