The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agreed with all of the audit recommendations in its response of February 4, 2004, and provided an Action Plan statement for each recommendation.
- Resolved. In response to the recommendation that the DEA consider allocating resources for fingerprint and digital evidence positions that would support turnaround times comparable to those for drug services, the Action Plan indicates that the DEA's Office of Forensic Sciences will continue to pursue additional positions for the latent print and digital evidence programs. The cover memorandum dated February 4, 2004, contains the DEA'S commitment to pursuing enhancements to resources.
We can close this recommendation when the DEA provides evidence that additional fingerprint and digital evidence analyst positions have been funded, or of reasonable attempts to identify resources to increase the number of latent print and digital evidence positions.
- Resolved. To ensure that supervisors of fingerprint specialists are qualified and experienced in the analysis of latent prints, the DEA plans to pursue supervisory latent print positions and to assign more technical oversight responsibilities to the Senior Fingerprint Specialists in each laboratory until positions are obtained.
We can close this recommendation when the DEA: 1) provides a description of the technical oversight responsibilities that have been assigned to Senior Fingerprint Specialists, and how they have been implemented; and, 2) provides notice that supervisory positions have been established.
- Resolved. The DEA plans to provide direct access to additional local, state, and regional latent print databases by finalizing the identification of databases to determine which would be most beneficial, obtaining funding, and implementing the connections by December 31, 2005.
We can close this recommendation when the DEA provides a list of databases to which direct access has been implemented since July 2003.
- Resolved. In response to the recommendation that the DEA provide detailed instructions and training for agents to ensure the proper handling of exhibits critical for latent print analysis, the Action Plan indicates that the DEA will review and revise the curriculum used to train agents regarding the handling of fingerprint evidence.
We can close this recommendation when the DEA provides documentation of the revised curriculum, a statement regarding its adequacy by the Office of Forensic Sciences, and its implementation.
- Resolved. To address the recommendation that the use of DEA fingerprint specialists at crime scenes be increased, the Action Plan indicates only that additional positions will be pursued. (These positions will be pursued in recommendation 1.) We agree that increased staffing is an important part of the solution, but also believe additional coordination with targeted Field Offices might increase the use of existing fingerprint specialists at selected crimes scenes independent of obtaining additional positions. Increased coordination with field offices may be needed even after any new positions have been filled.
We can close this recommendation when the DEA provides evidence that additional fingerprint positions have been funded, and of outreach to targeted Field Offices to increase the participation of available fingerprint specialists at crime scenes as resources permit.
- Resolved. The actions DEA has planned to ensure that potential latent print residues are protected at the laboratories are to review and revise policy and provide additional training to chemists regarding the handling of drug packaging to protect latent prints.
We can close this recommendation when the DEA provides revised policy guidelines and information on training provided to chemists.
- Resolved. In response to the recommendation that laboratories use standardized procedures for recording information in data systems to ensure that all types of exhibits are tracked appropriately, and that the new information system will clearly track analysis data and turnaround time for all types of exhibits and analyses, the Action Plan indicates that the DEA will continue to pursue implementation of a new information system that will track analytical results and provide management reports for all types of evidence.
We can close this recommendation when the DEA provides 1) a statement that all laboratories now record the Southeast Laboratory records all fingerprint exhibits in STRIDE, and 2) documentation showing that the new system has been implemented and tracks analysis results and turnaround times for all types of exhibits and analyses.
- Resolved. The Action Plan states that the DEA will monitor compliance with the 90-day destruction policy over the next 12 months and take additional action, if necessary.
We can close this recommendation when the DEA reports the results of the compliance monitoring, including additional actions planned, if appropriate.
- Resolved. The DEA plans to monitor the progress of the building prospectus that the General Services Administration has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget to ensure the Southeast Laboratory is relocated to a suitable facility as soon as possible.
We can close this recommendation when the DEA provides documentation that the laboratory has been relocated to a suitable facility.
- Resolved. [DELETED]
- Resolved. To ensure that the ventilation system and fume hood improvements at the Western Laboratory were effective, the DEA plans to obtain and review the final report of the industrial hygiene survey that was conducted in March 2003, and take any additional action that may be necessary.
We can close this recommendation when DEA provides the report of the industrial hygiene survey showing the problem was corrected, and documentation of the results of any additional actions that may be needed to correct the situation.
- Resolved. The DEA responded to the recommendation that the Southeast Laboratory maintain complete records of requests for leaseholder services by indicating that the Director of the Southeast Laboratory has been maintaining a complete record of requests for services from the leaseholder.
We can close this recommendation when we receive a copy of the documentation of requests for services being maintained by the Southeast Laboratory.
- Resolved. The Action Plan indicates that the GSA has taken action to ensure compliance with the terms of the lease for the Southeast Laboratory. This needs to be a continuing effort on the part of GSA to ensure that systems are maintained adequately.
We can close this recommendation when we receive a description of actions by the GSA since our site visit in March 2003.
- Resolved. [DELETED]
- Resolved. [DELETED]