OPPORTUNITIES EXIST FOR MORE
EFFECTIVE USE OF FUGITIVE APPREHENSION RESOURCES

Allocation of resources within the 94 USMS districts is typically made by the US Marshal or the Chief Deputy Marshal in each district. During our field work, we found a significant disparity in the commitment to working warrants among the district offices we visited. We believe that the USMS needs to establish priorities and implement performance measures for its fugitive apprehension activities.

 

Operational Priorities Need to Be
Established For the USMS Fugitive
Apprehension Program

It was apparent to us during field interviews that there is a great disparity among the district offices in their commitment to warrant work. Although court and prisoner security are the highest priorities of the USMS, and all offices must dedicate resources to adequately perform those missions, the commitment each district makes to ensure that appropriate resources are allocated to warrant work varies from district to district.

Many of the officials and deputies with whom we spoke at Headquarters and the district offices discussed the need for structuring resources differently in the field. The current structure of 94 separately managed USMS district offices -- each of which is under the management and control of Presidentially-appointed United States Marshals -- makes it difficult, if not impossible, to implement a coordinated, nationwide fugitive apprehension program. The amount of time devoted to warrants varies in each of the 94 district offices, and there is no mechanism for effectively setting national or regional priorities and ensuring that each district allocates resources consistent with those priorities. Although district offices should have the flexibility to implement fugitive apprehension strategies designed to effectively work their assigned warrants, we believe that broader national goals and priorities should be established for USMS fugitive apprehension activities. Some mechanism, such as the use of performance measures, should also be used to assess the results of fugitive apprehension activities in each district, and hold district officials accountable for their progress in closing warrants. The USMS has proposed initial steps to assign priorities to fugitive cases and some performance indicators are contained in the USMS FY 1996 budget submission, but more needs to be done.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Inspections Division recommends that the Director, United States Marshals Service:

1. Establish national goals and priorities for the fugitive apprehension program.

2. Based upon national goals and priorities, develop and implement performance measures by which district fugitive apprehension accomplishments can be assessed.

 

Analysis of Fugitive Information Can Be Improved

Enforcement Division officials told us they would like to expand investigative support available to deputies in the field, and develop special analyses and criteria for establishing warrant workload priorities at the district office level. We agree that whether developed in-house, or modeled after existing programs in other Department components, an expanded analytical program could efficiently provide preliminary investigative support; i.e., simple computer and telephone inquiries, as well as more specialized analyses of fugitive information. Analysis could also be helpful in the development of specific strategies to eliminate or reduce the old warrant 'backlog' beginning with an evaluation of old warrants.

We also believe that the USMS should consider giving a higher priority to the use and improvement of the WIN system. Based upon our limited review of the system and discussions with deputies in the field, we believe that the WIN system can be more effectively used. We understand that the WIN system is now part of a system integration project being developed by the Information Technology Division, but that WIN enhancements requested by the Enforcement Division have not been given a high priority. We believe that WIN system enhancements should be implemented to support fugitive apprehension analytical activities, and that use of the WIN system as an analytical tool should be more fully explored.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Inspections Division recommends that the Director, United States Marshals Service:

3. Provide additional investigative support to deputies working warrants in the field and develop criteria for establishing warrant workload priorities at the district office level

4. Give higher priority to enhancements and on-going maintenance of the WIN system.

 

ISSUES FOR MANAGEMENT
CONSIDERATION

During recently completed work on our inspection of the Fugitive Apprehension Program in the USMS, we interviewed dozens of personnel in the offices we visited. Several issues consistently surfaced during these discussions. USMS personnel we interviewed consistently expressed similar views on several issues: the use of task forces, the availability of vehicles and radios, and the need for additional training. We also found some evidence which suggests that better coordination of DEA-referred cases may be needed. While we did not fully evaluate all available information related to these issues, we believe that the information we developed may warrant management consideration.

 

Task Forces Represent Important
Opportunities for Fugitive Apprehension

The Enforcement Division reported in 1993 that the USMS had sponsored special fugitive apprehension initiatives over the past 12 years, resulting in the apprehension of 31,287 Federal, state, and municipal fugitive felons. These initiatives included the use of Fugitive Investigation Strike Forces (FIST operations) and other formal and informal task forces.

During FY 1993, the USMS conducted two FIST operations - Operation Trident and Operation Gunsmoke II. Operation Trident lasted about 7 months, and focused on apprehending fugitives wanted for homicide and other violent crimes, as well as aiding the INS in apprehending four of their Top Ten fugitives. Operation Gunsmoke II was a 6-week effort aimed at fugitives wanted for felony warrants for serious crimes committed against children, violent sex offenders, and major drug and firearms violators. Over 10,500 arrests resulted from these two operations.

In 1994, the USMS reported participating in 52 different task forces, including 30 USMS-led task forces focused on apprehending fugitives. In addition, the USMS has formed its own internal task forces (for example, to reduce the number of old Class I warrants in specific districts), and participates in a number of informal operations with local law enforcement agencies at the district level.

Some USMS personnel expressed the view that too much emphasis was given to state or local cases in joint operations with these jurisdictions. Others saw such cooperation as an opportunity to access better resources and remove fugitives from the streets - no matter who held the warrant. Some expressed disappointment that the USMS was apparently abandoning the use of FIST operations.

USMS management may want to review the use of task forces for working fugitive apprehension cases. Whether through formal task force structures or informal cooperation with local law enforcement, USMS fugitive activities may be enhanced by coordinating related activities with local jurisdictions.

Greater Availability of Vehicles and Radios
For Warrant Work May
Be Needed

Another area of concern noted by numerous USMS personnel in the districts we visited involved the lack of reliable vehicles and properly functioning radios. Deputies in the field told us that they need greater access to both vehicles and radios to successfully pursue investigative leads and apprehend fugitives. An Enforcement Division official agreed that the availability of vehicles and radios may not be optimal in some districts and that Headquarters has received similar feedback from district offices. The Enforcement Division official also noted such resource allocation decisions are usually made at the district office level.

In one office, warrant squad supervisors told us they did not have enough vehicles overall and the ones they did have were old and had high mileage. They reported that there is voluminous paperwork and red tape involved in obtaining a car, and that attempts to obtain seized vehicles were frequently unsuccessful because they believe the USMS cannot compete effectively with other Federal law enforcement agencies for these resources.

Concerning radios, two supervisors told us that, in their particular districts, they supply their own investigative backup and in order to send a sufficient number of people out on an apprehension, they need to have reliable communications equipment. They said that such equipment is not reliably available. An additional impediment, noted in several districts we visited, is that USMS radios do not operate on the same frequencies as those of the local police department, which can be a distinct disadvantage in case of an emergency.

Management may want to review and consider modifying allocations of communications equipment and vehicles, if necessary, to provide district office personnel working warrants with the tools they need to do their work.

Many Deputies Believe They Need Additional and More Realistic Warrant-Related Training

Training was an issue with many deputies who spoke to us. Some felt they had not been given the "true picture" of what to expect in a USMS district office. Most had hoped they would be doing more warrant work based on what they had learned during their training. Others thought that while the Federal law enforcement training they received was a good beginning, they would like supplemental training that was directly applicable to warrant work.

A FLETC official responded to some of the criticisms concerning training. He said he too had heard that deputies in the field believe they receive more enforcement training than court security training, and then do not necessarily have the opportunity to use it. He said the reality is there is only so much you can teach a person about how to 'sit in court,' while teaching investigative material requires a lot more detail. He explained that the deputies report to FLETC at Glynco, Georgia, for a 2-day orientation prior to 8 weeks at the Criminal Investigator school. They then begin the USMS "follow-on' courses that usually last from 5 to 6 weeks.

The primary supplemental training offered is a 2-week advanced deputy training program that is usually offered to deputies who have been in the USMS approximately 3 years or are at the GS-12 level. The FLETC official said they had received positive feedback about this particular training. He acknowledged a lot of the positive feedback had to do with the fact that the deputies are 'basically starved for training." He said there are some other courses offered to enhance a deputy's skills, such as a seized asset course and firearms instruction, and there is some external training available, but in times of budgetary constraints, training funds are often the first to be cut.

The FLETC official also said a lot of the success in training for the district offices depended on management commitment to training in each district. During our field work, we noted that the San Diego District Office had an internal supplemental training program for its deputies. This program offered periodic courses on a number of topics of interest to the personnel at this particular district office.

Management may want to consider enhancing the USMS training program by implementing some of the suggestions made in the field. For example, USMS personnel told us they thought improvements could be made by (1) encouraging the district offices to develop individual training programs related to issues of specific interest to their district; (2) allowing Headquarters and district office representatives to be more involved in the development of FLETC training courses; (3) involving experienced USMS headquarters and field personnel in the delivery of training on operational subjects, especially for advanced training; and (4) providing appropriate supplemental training for deputies and support personnel assigned.

Better Coordination of DEA-Referred
Cases May Be Needed

During the course of our field work, we were unable to reconcile the data provided by DEA on referrals to the USMS with data available at the USMS. We were, therefore, unable to determine the exact number of warrants that DEA referred to the USMS for investigative purposes.

Coordination and transfer of DEA warrants to the USMS may be improved through a systematic review of the warrant information being transferred. In addition, if USMS Deputies believe investigative material provided by DEA is insufficient, this fact should be communicated to DEA.

Our interviews with DEA and USMS officials suggested that the coordinating system for transferring warrants between the DEA and the USMS is inconsistent. Some of the officials we spoke with suggested that additional training for USMS managers on fugitive apprehension policy might be needed and could improve the coordination of DEA referred cases. A DEA fugitive coordinator noted that there is no formal training for DEA coordinators and little specific program guidance.

 

 

APPENDIX I

 

Fugitive Apprehension Resources at USMS Districts Visited

In an effort to determine how much time was being devoted to individual fugitive apprehension efforts, we reviewed time distribution records of warrant squad deputies at four of the district offices we visited. An analysis of the time charged to fugitive apprehension activities at those four offices is as follows:

In the Southern District of California (San Diego), for the 6 pay periods reviewed, warrant squad personnel charged approximately 4,575 hours out of 4,800 total hours to warrant work (fugitive apprehension). The remaining time, approximately 225 hours, was spent performing court security functions, training, and general administrative activities. Of the direct time recorded by the warrant squad personnel, approximately 95 percent was spent performing warrant activities.

In the Central District of California (Los Angeles), for the 6 pay periods reviewed, warrant squad personnel charged approximately 4,300 hours out of 5,297 total hours to warrant work (fugitive apprehension). The remaining time, approximately 997 hours, was spent performing court security functions, training, and general administrative activities. Of the direct time recorded by the warrant squad personnel, approximately 81 percent was spent performing warrant activities.

In the Southern District of New York (Manhattan), for the 6 pay periods reviewed, warrant squad personnel charged approximately 3,812 hours out of 5,895 total hours to warrant work (fugitive apprehension). The remaining time, approximately 2,053 hours, was spent performing court security functions, training, and general administrative activities. Of the direct time recorded by the warrant squad personnel, approximately 64.6 percent was spent performing warrant activities.

In the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn), for the 6 pay periods reviewed, warrant squad personnel charged approximately 1,441 hours out of 2,025 total hours to warrant work (fugitive apprehension). The remaining time, approximately 584 hours, was spent performing court security functions, training, and general administrative activities. Of the direct time recorded by the warrant squad personnel, approximately 71.1 percent was spent performing warrant activities.

We did not review time distribution records at the District of Maryland (Baltimore) or the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria), but our discussions with personnel in these offices paralleled that of our discussions with personnel in the other four offices. Generally, warrant squad deputies believe they are performing adequately in the fugitive apprehension program but they would like to have more time to work the warrants they are assigned without the distraction of performing other USMS functions, such as court security.

 

APPENDIX II

 

U.S. Department of Justice

United States Marshals Service

Director 600 Army Navy Drive

Arlington, VA 22202-4210

SEP 12, 1995

MEMORANDUM TO:  James L. Kendrall
                                          Assistant Inspector General
                                          for Inspections

FROM:                            Eduardo Gonzalez
                                          Director

SUBJECT:                       Inspection of the Fugitive Apprehension Program in the
                                         U.S. Marshals Service

The staff of the United States Marshals Service (USMS) Enforcement Division has reviewed the draft audit report for the above subject matter and offers the following comments/responses to the recommendations contained therein:

OIG AUDIT RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. Establish national goals and priorities for the Fugitive Apprehension Program.

2 . Develop and implement performance measures (based upon national goals and priorities) by which district fugitive apprehension accomplishments can be assessed.

USMS Response to items I & 2: Agree

The United States Marshals Service has established national goals and priorities for district offices. Attached is a copy of the quality point index (QPI) system that will be implemented in FY 1996. The QPI identifies the most violent and backlogged fugitive warrants. Quality points are awarded based upon agency priorities and goals. District offices will be expected to maintain an average QPI that is reflective of national goals and priorities. Also, three offender categories have been developed to prioritize fugitives according to the Department of Justice violent crime initiative.

Two other National performance measures will be used to evaluate district fugitive investigations. Districts will be expected to arrest or close 80 percent of fugitive warrants within one year and reduce warrants older than one year by 15 percent. Both these goals will be measured by the Warrant Information Network (WIN).

3. Provide additional investigative support to deputies working warrants in the field and develop criteria for establishing warrant workload priorities at the district office level.

USMS Response: Agree

USMS has formed an Analytical Support Unit (ASU) to provide support to district offices and periodically review cases over one year for investigative leads. Also medium and large district offices are being encouraged to dedicate administrative personnel to warrant squads on a full time basis. Program review has been requested to review district enforcement analyst slots to -ensure that enforcement analysts are performing that duty on a full time basis. over the next few years I believe the ASU will become an integral part of the support apparatus for USMS investigators.

4. Give higher priority to enhancements and on-going maintenance of the WIN system.

USMS Response: Agree

The Information Technology Division (ITD) has assigned one programmer to enhance the WIN system. The Enforcement Division has a list of WIN enhancements and ITD is working toward completing the WIN enhancements. The Enforcement Division and ITD are developing plans for on-going maintenance of the WIN system. I expect continued improvement in this area and will devote additional resources to development of the WIN when additional ITD resources become available.

Thank you for this opportunity to respond to the draft audit report before its final issuance. If we can be of any further assistance in this matter, please contact Ms. Lucia C. Clark, USMS, Audit Liaison Branch (202) 307-5299 or Donald B. Ward, Acting Chief, Enforcement Division (202) 307-9111.

Quality Point Index (QPI) System

Beginning FY 1996, the QPI system will be established as a fugitive program national performance initiative. In support of the initiative, the WIN system will calculate and report the quality point index (QPI) for USMS primary responsibility warrants cleared. The QPI calculation is based on information present in the WIN record on the 6th day of the month following the month the warrant is closed.

Beginning August/September 1995, the QPI system will be evident in reports generated through WIN, however, the numbers will only be considered as performance measures after October 1, 1995. This gives districts an opportunity to ensure their fugitive and warrant workload as recorded by WIN is accurate and complete.

There is no advantage in the QPI system for WIN districts as opposed to non-WIN districts, The information required to accurately calculate the QPI is available in record entries from ALL districts -- WIN and non-WIN.

Projected Quality Points

Projected quality points appear on every subject fugitive report. The points may change at any time if the determining criteria is changed. The determining criteria is as follows:

Fugitive
Category
USMS Arrest/
Clear*
Over One
Yr. Old
State/Local
Warrants
TOTAL
T 11 3 2 16
M 10 3 2 15
1 6 3 2 11
2 3 3 1 7
3 1 3 1 5

*Except when arrest on detainer and warrant under one year old.

Quality Points (QP)

The actual quality points are calculated after a case is closed. So, if the information is present in the WIN record on the sixth day of the month following the close month, the QP based on the above criteria is calculated.

The QP number remains a permanent record in the WIN data base regardless of any changes made to the record after the calculation. If a new warrant is issued for the same fugitive, projected and actual quality points are calculated for the new case.

Additional Quality Points

For every qualifying out-of-district primary warrant closed, the arresting district receives two points which becomes part of the total quality points and part of the calculation for the QPI as described below.

Quality Point Index

The index is obtained by dividing the number of USMS clears (excluding dismissals/purges) for the month by the total quality points -- including extra points -- for the month.

Reports

WIN will automatically generate a monthly closed caseload report to each -- WIN and non-WIN -- district showing the quality points calculating the quality point index and the quality points to be stored in the data base. The quality points may not be changed after being calculated by this process.

Districts may re-run a report at any time for any variable span of time. Non-WIN districts may (as always) request such reports be generated by the ComCenter at any time.

Definitions

Fugitive/Offender Categories

Fugitive categories are based on information contained in the fugitive and warrant records in WIN.

Category 1 The subject has a criminal history or an open case involving violent crimes. or, the subject is wanted on a DEA-initiated warrant for DEA Class 1 and 2 offenders.
Category 2 The subject is wanted on a DEA-initiated warrant for Class 3 or 4 or none. or, where the USMS has an investigative Memorandum of Understanding and the subject does not fall under category 1.
Category 3 All other USMS primary responsibility warrants.
Category M  (Major case),
Category T (15 Most Wanted)
As 15 Most Wanted and major cases are adopted the category will be changed by Investigative Services Division.
USMS Arrest/Clear Closed by physical, directed, surrender or detainer (if warrant is one year old or older) arrest.
Over one year old For projected quality points, based on date of warrant and date subject report generated. For quality points based on date of warrant and date of close.
State/Local Warrants As recorded in the fugitive profile section of the WIN subject record.


 

APPENDIX III

 

OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL'S ANALYSIS
OF MANAGEMENT'S RESPONSE

In response to the draft report, the United States Marshals Service (USMS) Director provided comments in which the USMS concurred with each of the report's four recommendations, and reported that steps have been taken to implement each recommendation. Consistent with the USMS response we are closing the first three recommendations, and requesting additional information so that we can close the fourth recommendation in the near future.

Recommendation Number:

1. Resolved-Closed.

2. Resolved-Closed.

3. Resolved-Closed.

4. Resolved- Open. Please provide the list of planned system enhancements, indicate which have been completed, and provide expected completion dates for enhancements not yet implemented.

 

 

APPENDIX IV

 

ABBREVIATIONS

COMMISSION United States Parole Commission
FY Fiscal Year
FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation
DEA Drug Enforcement Administration
FIST Fugitive Investigation Strike Forces
FLETC Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
INS Immigration and Naturalization Service
USMS United States Marshals Service
WIN Warrant Information Network

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