Coordinating DOJ Law Enforcement Activities
The Office of Investigative Agency Policies (OIAP), created in 1994 to coordinate the activities of the criminal investigative agencies within the Department, continued to "break down the barriers" between Federal law enforcement agencies in 1995. The OIAP continued its interagency working groups in such areas as budget planning, field structure, and automation. In addition, the OIAP established working groups to look at consolidating Department laboratories, and issues impacting Federal, State, and local task forces. The OIAP also issued resolutions creating Department policies for the uniform use of deadly force and general policies for the investigation of shooting incidents.
To respond to the inefficiencies in transporting the growing number of Federal prisoners, and in an attempt to save tax dollars, the Attorney General ordered the consolidation of some prisoner transportation functions of the INS into the USMS transportation system. This was carried out through the oversight of the OIAP Aviation Policy Working Group, and the result is the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS). This system from the outset has demonstrated enhanced efficiency and increased security. In 1995, JPATS completed 151,000 prisoner movements.
Collecting Debts Due the United States
Department efforts to collect debts owed to the United States government continued unabated in 1995. During the year, the Department collected $1.2 billion in cash, in the recovery of both criminal and civil debts. This was second only to 1994 when the Department collected a record-breaking $1.8 billion in cash receipts.
These figures represent only part of the debt collection program. Through the efforts of Department litigators and support staff, additional payments are sent directly by defendants to the U.S. Courts, and other recoveries are obtained through the seizure of property or offsets of benefits.
Following a recommendation by the National Performance Review (NPR), Congress authorized the Attorney General to use three percent of collected debts to reinvest in the administration of the Department's debt collection efforts. The Department used this revenue source in 1995 to reduce administrative burdens and provide needed resources for front line "debt collectors." Accordingly, funds were allocated to components to locate debtors and property; contract with investigators, accountants, and statisticians to find hidden assets; fund system enhancements for civil debt collection processing and tracking activities; and support teams trained to investigate civil fraud and other financial misconduct against the United States.
Adhering to the highest standards of integrity and professionalism is the most important commitment we can make to the public that pays our salaries. The Department took several noteworthy steps in 1995 to ensure the trustworthiness of its employees and prospective employees. In order to ensure that the DEA's Special Agent recruitment process admits only the most qualified and suitable candidates--in terms of education, experience, integrity and ethics--DEA has enhanced its process to require that each applicant who receives a tentative offer of employment now undergo a polygraph examination and full-field background investigations. Thus far, under the revised program, approximately 2,800 candidates have been interviewed with only 223 selected to attend Basic Agent training classes. Over 150 individuals were not recommended for employment as a result of the agency's stringent screening standards. Additionally, DEA Basic Agents now receive 25 hours of ethics and integrity training and are required to pass a standards of conduct examination. Ethics and integrity refresher courses are included in all in-service training classes held for core and non-core employees of DEA.
Improving the professionalism of Immigration Officers remained one of the INS Commissioner's highest priorities in 1995. In addition to institutional changes that have been made to prevent employee misconduct and maltreatment of individuals, the INS established a Citizens' Advisory Panel (CAP) to address public concerns and make recommendations for reducing complaints against INS officers. The Attorney General approved the selection of nine private citizens, five Department representatives, and one non-voting representative of the government of Mexico to serve as members of the CAP. The CAP has met several times to review the INS complaint process, examine the reasons complaints arise, and make recommendations on ways to eliminate the causes of such complaints.
Finally, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) helps insure integrity by an aggressive program of audits and investigations. In 1995, the OIG made 113 arrests including 48 Department employees, 57 civilians, and eight Department contractors. In addition, 134 administrative actions against employees were taken as the result of OIG investigations.
Promoting Organizational Effectiveness
Planning and Performance Measurement
During 1995 the Department continued to make steady progress toward building a management system that relies on improved planning and program accountability. These are two main themes of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), as well as similar, subsequent legislation. Since the Attorney General's commitment in 1993 to emphasize program performance and measurement, the Department has fashioned a system that has reinvigorated existing processes and added a results-oriented focus. The system emphasizes information that is realistic and meaningful, not only for internal management purposes, but also for use by external customers.
Two steps taken this past year moved the Department closer to GPRA's long-range expectations and will provide more stability and consistency to future performance measurement efforts. First, the Department accelerated the integration of more detailed programmatic information into its budget planning process and related documents. It did this by requiring component organizations to incorporate uniform "performance measurement tables" into their annual resource requests. These tables, which display available data on a program's inputs, outputs, and outcomes, were provided to the Office of Management and Budget as part of the Department's formal budget submission. The design of the tables, with its strong emphasis on performance reporting, had received a favorable review by the General Accounting Office during its critique of GPRA implementation efforts in the Department.
A second major management achievement during 1995 involved the drafting of a preliminary five-year strategic plan for the Department. The plan, although still under internal review, includes a succinct mission statement, long range goals and strategies in each of the Department's core functions, and a description of the kinds of information to be used to assess program performance. It is expected that the plan will provide important guidance to component organizations as they identify how their own program requirements fit in with the strategies and priorities of the Department. Extensive input from the Department's investigation and litigation entities has helped ensure that the plan is both realistic and broadly-based.
The Justice Performance Review
The JPR Team, established to promote and coordinate the growing activities following on the Vice President's NPR saw its first full year of operation in 1995. The NPR efforts in the Department flourished in 1995 under the Deputy Attorney General's leadership, as each component in the Department made significant advances toward performing its work more effectively, reaching out to its customers, and getting more done with less.
Two Department components received the Vice President's Hammer Awards in 1995 for their "reinvention" efforts. The FBI was honored for its Semi-Automated Mailer (SAM) program which significantly accelerates the speed of processing and distributing criminal history information to over 40,000 criminal justice customers each month. The INS was recognized for its Border Crossing Cards (BCC) program which allows qualified Mexican nationals to facilitate their entry into the United States, reducing traveler processing times and INS staffing requirements by more than half.
In the spirit of improving the way it does business, the Department launched a "Best Practices" program with the tri-fold purpose of encouraging the components to improve operations through the application of NPR principles, of recognizing teams that distinguish themselves, and, most important, of establishing a data base of best practices that could be shared throughout the Department. The program provides ready-made opportunities for improvement through the adoption of practices which have been proven successful, eliminating the need to dedicate time, energy and resources to "reinventing the wheel."
In response to the President's regulatory reinvention announced in February 1995, the Department undertook an extensive review to find extraneous, obsolete, or confusing regulations. Upon review, the Department identified some 109 pages for elimination from the Code of Federal Regulations, and another 478 pages for revision. At the end of 1995, the Department had acted to revise 219 of the projected 478 pages identified for reinvention.
A primary objective of the JPR is to promote innovation. "Reinvention labs" are pilot projects to field test more effective and cost efficient methods of providing services or products. The Department presently has about a dozen labs in operation. Highlights of some of these labs follow:
Reaching our Customers
Executive Order 12862 on "Setting Customer Service Standards," dated September 11, 1993, directs agencies to survey their customers, set standards of performance based on customer needs, and report on their progress in meeting those standards. During 1995, 12 Department program activities developed, published and distributed copies of service delivery standards to their customers. This brings to 19 the number of Department program activities included in this effort. Many of the activities that have published standards have also begun to measure their performance against their standards, using data collected via user surveys, focus groups and other customer feedback mechanisms, and they are reporting the results to their customers. The following is a sampling of some of the results:
Community Relations Service
Standard: Provide on-site service in major racial or ethnic crisis situations within 24 hours of when a community notifies CRS or CRS becomes aware of the situation.
Results: Eighty-five percent of the respondents in a CRS customer survey indicated that CRS was on site within 24 hours.
DOJ Response Center
Standard: Provide person-to-person assistance from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. After business hours, customers may leave a message and receive a return call on the next business day.
Results: Survey results show an average score for timeliness in returning phone calls of 4.65 out of a possible 5.0 and a similar score (4.6) for polite and courteous service.
Standard: Make readily available to customers copies of public Division documents. Requests for reasonable amounts of information will be filled, at government expense, within 48 hours of receipt.
Results: Ninety percent of the 4,000 information requests received were responded to within 48 hours.
In addition to the development of customer service standards, activities throughout the Department demonstrate an increased focus on and responsiveness to those we serve. From forging community partnerships to providing information to customers through the Internet, the Department continues its progress toward establishing a tradition of "world class service". The Department recognizes its obligations to taxpayers and those who depend on us, and has demonstrated in a number of ways that it will meet this obligation.
For example, COPS dramatically simplified the process for applying for a Federal grant, using a one-page, fill-in-the-blank form for grants to smaller communities, and adopting a letter of intent approach to authorize larger cities to begin recruiting and training new officers even before their grant applications are fully completed. COPS also routinely mails grant applications and other materials to its mailing list of 70,000 law enforcement agencies, city and State officials, and interested citizens to ensure the widest practical distribution of grant information. To supplement these mailings, the DOJ Response Center was created, with a toll-free number for people to call to receive grant information, research summaries, and other Department materials by mail or automated fax.
EOIR has made information more accessible to its users by establishing an electronic phone system to provide its customers with ready access to Immigration Court information. The service, provided in English and Spanish, is intended to eliminate the need for customers to personally visit the Immigration Courts and stand in line to gather standard case information. The system was activated on July 1, 1995, and received nearly 40,000 calls in its first six months.
In similar fashion, INS drastically simplified its "Ask Immigration" automated telephone answering system by reducing the number of items on the menu from 56 to nine. As part of the improvement, a separate toll-free number was established for customers wishing to order INS forms. Also, the first 24-hour information kiosk was opened, in a U.S. Post Office in Austin, TX. The kiosk is a stand-alone, bilingual, audio-video system that provides immigration information and dispenses forms.
The Department has begun to use the Internet as a means of making public information more accessible. Based on the success of the "Partners Against Violence Network" (PAVNET), a new reinvention lab is focusing on other opportunities to create universally accessible automated information on law enforcement programs and issues. By using the Internet, the Department has at its disposal a versatile, rapid means of reaching a wide audience of interested users. In an effort to provide the most current information on the Department's legal hiring programs to the public, the Office of Attorney Personnel Management has undertaken a voluntary pilot project to advertise attorney vacancies on the Internet. Announcements are posted immediately upon receipt from those components participating in the project. The Department has reduced the need for substantial numbers of Freedom of Information Act requests by placing thousands of documents on the Internet and World Wide Web, where they are readily available to the public.
On June 30, 1995, the FBI opened its own home page on the Internet, providing the public with access to such information as descriptions of the FBI's mission and responsibilities; law enforcement services, programs, and history; the "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" list; field office addresses and phone numbers; the Director's speeches; the Community Relations Program; answers to frequently asked questions about the FBI; and the text of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. New material is added on a regular basis.
The Department has received national recognition for its energetic efforts to make its activities more open to the media and the public. On September 15, 1995, the American Society of Newspaper Editors issued an unusual proclamation commending the Attorney General for setting important precedents and urged other Federal, State and local officials to follow her example.
Despite the opportunities made possible through technology, personal contact between Department employees and the public remains the most prevalent, and most appreciated, method of communication. Here, too, the tenor has changed from adversarial to one of partnership. An example of this is where FBI employees have joined the national movement linking community service, drug abuse prevention, and law enforcement, by volunteering in a wide variety of FBI community-related efforts. Each of the FBI's 56 field divisions has a coordinator who actively participates in community outreach events. The FBI focuses its community outreach efforts on three areas: the community, the schools, and the workplace.
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