THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION'S
SAFE STREETS FUGITIVE TASK FORCES
Audit Report 97-28, (9/97)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
I. IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED TO INCREASE THE EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF TASK FORCE OPERATIONS
Mapping Suggests Task Forces Not in Areas of Greatest Need
II. BETTER ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROLS COULD INCREASE ADHERENCE WITH FUGITIVE TASK FORCE GUIDELINES
Task Force Monitoring Needs Improvement
III. DEPUTATION OF STATE AND LOCAL TASK FORCE MEMBERS COULD BE STREAMLINED
Cumbersome Deputation Process
OTHER REPORTABLE MATTERS
STATEMENT ON MANAGEMENT CONTROL STRUCTURE
STATEMENT ON COMPLIANCE WITH LAWS AND REGULATIONS
APPENDIX I - Objectives, Scope, and Methodology
APPENDIX II - Regional Maps of Warrant Universe
Great Lakes States
APPENDIX III - Fugitive Case File Review
APPENDIX IV - FBI Safe Streets Task Forces Reviewed
APPENDIX V - Schedule of Dollar-Related Findings
APPENDIX VI - FBI Response to the Draft Report
APPENDIX VII - OIG Analysis and Summary of Actions
In January 1992, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI or the Bureau) established its Safe Streets Violent Crime initiative to combat the nation's escalating violent crime rate. The initiative allowed FBI offices to establish long term, proactive task forces that focus on violent crimes and the apprehension of violent fugitives. While the task forces are sponsored by the FBI, membership includes state and local law enforcement officers, as well as other federal law enforcement personnel. Total operating costs, during Fiscal Year (FY) 1995 (the latest data available), were $112.5 million or 5.3 percent of the Bureau's total budget for that year.
The initiative began with the redesignation of 19 existing efforts as Safe Streets task forces. As of April 1996, the number escalated to 141 task forces, of which 64 concentrated on locating and apprehending violent state and local fugitives.
In brief, our audit revealed that the FBI could put about $3.7 million to better use as 7 of 20 fugitive task forces reviewed exhibited operational weaknesses and should be reorganized or redirected. Specifically, the task force(s) in:
Charlotte and Mobile had low numbers of arrests,
El Paso and Kansas City were not under direct FBI supervision,
Sacramento and San Juan had limited participation from state and local members, and
Tampa handled cases in which a possibility of flight had not been clearly established.
In our judgment, the problems existed because the FBI did not periodically assess and address the:
numbers of warrants for violent crimes in relation to task force locations, or
degree of participation and cooperation by member agencies.
The FBI could enhance task force operations and maximize efficiency by periodically:
assessing the nationwide universe of active violent crime warrants and targeting task force operations in the areas of greatest need,
measuring each task force's impact by comparing its arrest activity to the universe of violent crime warrants and reconfiguring task force locations based on need, and
evaluating task forces' efforts and identifying resources that could be reallocated or task forces needing reorganization.
Administrative controls over task forces' operations were generally adequate; however, we noted several areas where controls could be strengthened. The FBI could alleviate these weaknesses through comprehensive and timely internal reviews of the individual task forces.
Delays were noted in the deputation process of state and local officers, potentially affecting the operation of the task forces. This situation occurred because the U.S. Marshals Service granted the deputations instead of the FBI. In our judgment, the FBI could avoid these delays and realize an annual savings of at least $50,400, if it handled the deputations internally.
The details of our results are contained in the Findings and Recommendations section of the report. Our audit objectives, scope, and methodology are contained in Appendix I.