United States Attorney
Southern District of Indiana
Subject: Strategic Plan of the United States Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana
Date: October 10, 2017
To: United States Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana
From: Josh J. Minkler, United States Attorney
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA STRATEGIC PLAN
(October 2017 through October 2019)
The Southern District of Indiana faces various critical public safety challenges. In serving the District, the United States Attorney's Office must do everything in its power to identify those challenges and respond in a consequential way. The goal of the Strategic Plan is to identify and meet the District's most significant challenges, consistent with the federal government's role in the District and the priorities of the Department of Justice. The performance of this Office will be measured against both the challenges we face and the responses this Plan outlines.
1. PROTECT THE SECURITY OF INDIANA AND AMERICA FROM DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL THREATS
(United States Department of Justice Strategic Goal #1)
CHALLENGE #1: Like other districts nationwide, the Southern District of Indiana faces the potential for foreign and domestic terror threats. Such threats are serious and can be difficult to detect. Combating terror threats and imposing costs on those who seek to harm our nation and our District require concerted coordination among various law enforcement and intelligence entities and continued vigilance by the Department of Justice.
STRATEGIC RESPONSE #1:
1.1 Utilizing the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), Counterintelligence and Cyber Squads, and other law enforcement agencies, identify, disrupt, and prosecute individuals who threaten our District and our national security, including terrorists, terrorist organizations, violent extremists, and those engaged in counterintelligence activities.
1.2 Confront the domestic threat of violent extremism and homegrown terrorism in the District by prosecuting all individuals and organizations engaged in domestic terrorism.
1.3 Foster multi-agency cooperation with and among all pertinent agencies in the detection, identification, investigation, and prosecution of international and domestic national security matters involving foreign and domestic terrorism, counterintelligence, and export of arms, technology, and goods to embargoed countries, groups, or persons.
1.4 Lead the United States Attorney's Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council (ATAC) to increase information sharing and ensure domestic preparedness. Conduct regional meetings/training with public safety and private sector officials to increase awareness. Continue public and community outreach efforts that identify and disrupt individuals who threaten our national security. These efforts will specifically focus on identifying and reducing factors that lead to youth radicalization.
1.5 Collaborate with state and local organizations focused on domestic preparedness. This includes active participation on the JTTF Executive Board and the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center Executive Board, as well as attending meetings of the State of Indiana's Counter-Terrorism and Security Council.
1.6 Provide leadership and guidance in planning for special events in the District to thwart the threat of foreign and domestic terrorist attacks in this District.
1.7 Plan for the continued operations of the Office in the event of a disaster.
1.8 Prosecute immigration cases when necessary in support of this strategic response.
1.9 In furtherance of this strategic response and in consultation with the Criminal Chief, the National Security Unit Deputy Chief shall determine metrics to measure the success of the National Security Unit. Metrics should be tailored to the challenges and responses outlined above. At regular intervals, the Deputy Chief shall communicate the performance metrics and, if necessary, any ideas for improving performance to the United States Attorney.
2. CONFRONT THE DISTRICT'S VIOLENT CRIME EPIDEMIC BY FEDERALLY PROSECUTING MORE VIOLENT CRIME CASES
(United States Department of Justice Strategic Goals #2.1-2.4)
CHALLENGE #2: Violent crime in Indianapolis is two and one-half times the national average and is on the rise. The Attorney General's selection of Indianapolis for the National Public Safety Partnership to Combat Violent Crime reflects that challenging reality. In Marion County, fatal and nonfatal shootings are at all-time highs, driven largely by drug trafficking and related turf wars. Robberies, carjackings, and other violent crimes are also at all-time highs.
STRATEGIC RESPONSE #2:
2.1 Utilizing the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), target, investigate, and prosecute more violent criminal organizations, with a goal of detaining and sentencing more violent offenders to significant prison terms. This approach should result in more drug, RICO, money laundering, and firearm prosecutions in this District as tracked by OCDETF performance indicators.
2.2 Target the District's most violent geographic areas for the adoption of reactive federal drug and firearm prosecutions. Priority will be given to defendants who can be charged by criminal complaint, detained, indicted, convicted, and sentenced to significant periods of incarceration. This expeditious approach should result in more firearm and drug prosecutions in the District.
2.3 Target, investigate, and prosecute defendants committing violent crimes involving firearms trafficking, robbery, and carjacking. Prioritize crimes statutorily tied to mandatory minimum sentences, with the objective of reducing violent crime by federally prosecuting more violent offenders.
2.4 Decline federal prosecution of lower level drug trafficking and violent crime offenders unlikely to be detained or imprisoned for significant terms, to permit the allocation of resources to respond efficiently and effectively to the District's violent crime problem.
2.5 Continue to protect the safety of employees of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, as well as the safety of the prisoner population, at the Federal Correctional Complex - Terre Haute, by prosecuting violent crime cases occurring therein.
2.6 Take the lead in developing a Gun Crime Intelligence Center, to be operational by November 1, 2018. Strategically prosecute prohibited persons in possession of "crime guns" utilizing this technological resource.
2.7 Continue to support federal re-entry efforts with the goal of improving defendants' post-imprisonment transitions and reducing recidivism. Continue to tailor community outreach programs in schools to help prevent violent crime.
2.8 Continue the District's commitment to the Department of Justice's Public Safety Partnership. Engage with state and local partners to ensure that Office priorities will help address the District's violent crime crisis.
2.9 Continue the District's commitment to Project Safe Neighborhoods.
2.10 Continue to support federal, state, and local law enforcement officers through training and monthly meetings in their districts.
2.11 Prosecute immigration cases when necessary in support of this strategic response including, but not limited to, illegal aliens with violent crime convictions.
2.12 In furtherance of this strategic response and in consultation with the Criminal Chief, the Drug and Violent Crime Unit Deputy Chief and Evansville Branch Chief shall determine metrics to measure the success of the Drug and Violent Crime Unit and Evansville Branch Office. Metrics should be tailored to the challenges and responses outlined above. At regular intervals, the Deputy Chief and Evansville Branch Chief shall communicate the performance metrics and, if necessary, any ideas for improving performance to the United States Attorney.
3. ADDRESS INDIANA'S HEROIN AND OPIOID CRISIS THROUGH FEDERAL PROSECUTION OF MORE HEROIN AND OPIOID TRAFFICKERS
(United States Department of Justice Strategic Goal #2.3)
CHALLENGE #3: Each year, more residents of the Southern District of Indiana die of drug overdoses tied to increased trafficking in heroin and opioids, including dangerous synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 years old. Driven by the increased availability of heroin, prescription opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, and synthetics, a mounting crisis of both addiction and violence has degraded entire communities in the Southern District of Indiana.
STRATEGIC RESPONSE #3:
3.1 Utilizing OCDETF, target, investigate, and prosecute more organizations that supply and distribute heroin in the District. A majority of the heroin seized in the District originates in Colombia and is transported for distribution in the District by Mexican drug trafficking organizations. This Office will give priority to OCDETF cases responding directly to that threat. If the dominant origin and transport patterns of heroin trafficking change, the Office will shift priorities to respond as the threats evolve. This objective aims to increase prosecution of transnational drug trafficking organizations affecting the District while reducing the supply of heroin to the District. This approach should result in more heroin, opioid, and money laundering prosecutions in this District as tracked by OCDETF performance indicators.
3.2 Within the District, target geographic areas hardest hit by the abuses inherent in the opioid crisis. This Office's response will be both proactive and reactive, with priority given to federal drug prosecutions seeking mandatory minimum sentences. The objective will be to prevent the spread of this crisis by federally prosecuting more heroin and opioid dealers.
3.3 Although priority will be given to prosecuting distributors of heroin, opioids, and synthetic opioids, the Office will continue to prosecute organizations and individuals distributing methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and other controlled substances.
3.4 Decline to prosecute most low-level and nonviolent drug offenders in order to maximize our allocation of resources targeting large international organizations, violent domestic organizations, and other sources of heroin and opioids.
3.5 Provide leadership and guidance, including meeting with and training public safety and private sector officials, to increase awareness of the heroin and opioid emergencies. Continue public and community outreach efforts with the objective of preventing the spread of these crises.
3.6 Working with the DEA, the FBI, HHS, and our state and local partners, target and prosecute or pursue civil remedies against those doctors, pharmacies, and medical providers who are furthering the epidemic by illegally diverting opioids for their own profit, as well as those individuals who divert such drugs through robbery. Criminal priority will be given to cases capable of producing consequential sentences including forfeitures. Civil priority will be given to cases capable of producing consequential fines and forfeitures.
3.7 Prosecute immigration cases when necessary in support of this strategic response including, but not limited to, illegal aliens engaged in heroin or opioid trafficking and aliens with drug trafficking convictions.
3.8 In furtherance of this strategic response and in consultation with the Criminal Chief, the Drug and Violent Crime Unit Deputy Chief and Evansville Branch Chief shall determine metrics to measure the success of the Drug and Violent Crime Unit and Evansville Branch Office. Metrics should be tailored to the challenges and responses outlined above. At regular intervals, the Deputy Chief and Evansville Branch Chief shall communicate the performance metrics and, if necessary, any ideas for improving performance to the United States Attorney.
4. COMBAT THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY TO EXPLOIT CHILDREN, ATTACK SCHOOLS AND BUSINESSES, AND STEAL IDENTITIES
(United States Department of Justice Strategic Goals #1.4, 2.2)
CHALLENGE #4: Digital technology has emboldened those who would violently exploit children to do so with much greater impunity, thus harming not only vulnerable victims but also their families and entire communities. Communities in the District look to the Office to protect their children from these violent sexual predators. The Southern District of Indiana also faces a host of evolving cybersecurity threats. Some examples: public schools in this District have faced serious cyberthreats; several large local corporations have recently faced cyberattacks; and sophisticated identity-theft organizations operate in this District. A coordinated response is necessary to fend off all of these attacks.
STRATEGIC RESPONSE #4:
4.1 Working with the FBI and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, target, investigate, and prosecute those who exploit and harm children or other vulnerable victims, whether or not in reliance on new technologies. Employing our own technological advantages, continue prioritizing the prosecution of those who produce and distribute child pornography. Additionally, prioritize the prosecution of sextortion offenses, and any related crime involving a live victim. The objective of this response is to generate a significant number of prosecutions resulting in consequential sentences. If necessary to maximize these priorities, the Office will decline cases in which the offender is not subject to a sentence of at least five (5) years in prison.
4.2 Continue the District's commitment to Project Safe Childhood, with the goal of reducing the sexual exploitation of children. The Office will also continue its efforts to improve access to restitution for victims of child pornography and trafficking offenses.
4.3 Continue the District's commitment to investigating and prosecuting commercial sex trafficking and labor trafficking cases. These cases will be worked jointly with the Drug and Violent Crime Unit where human trafficking intersects with the drug trade, the illegal use of firearms, and/or trafficking by known gang members.
4.4 Working with the FBI's Cyber Squad and building on multi-agency cooperation, target, investigate, and prosecute individuals who threaten schools and other community institutions by means of new technologies, cyberthreats, or cyberintrusion. Additionally, prioritize the identification, investigation, and prosecution of individuals and organizations engaging in corporate cybercrime, including espionage, theft of trade secrets and intellectual property, deployment of ransom ware, hacking, insider threats, and identity theft.
4.5 Investigate and prosecute more individuals engaged in fraudulent activity involving the use of bogus access devices and identity fraud with a goal of reducing identity theft through deterrence.
4.6 Target, investigate, and prosecute individuals who use the dark web or other advanced technology to promote any criminal enterprise, including the distribution of drugs and the exploitation of children.
4.7 Prosecute immigration cases when necessary in support of this strategic response including, but not limited to, illegal aliens engaged in cybercrime.
4.8 In furtherance of this strategic response and in consultation with the Criminal Chief, the General Crimes Unit Deputy Chief and the Evansville Branch Chief shall determine metrics to measure the success of the General Crimes Unit and Evansville Branch Office. Metrics should be tailored to the challenges and responses outlined above. At regular intervals, the Deputy Chief and Evansville Branch Chief shall communicate the performance metrics and, if necessary, any ideas for improving performance to the United States Attorney.
5. CONTINUE TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE INDIVIDUALS WHO ENGAGE IN COMPLEX FRAUD AND VIOLATE THE PUBLIC TRUST
(United States Department of Justice Strategic Goals #2.4, 2.6)
CHALLENGE #5: When people in positions of trust choose to line their pockets at the expense of clients and the public, the costs can be massive: corrupted institutions; permanent harm to investors; and prohibitively expensive medical costs, including insurance. The scope and complexity of many of the frauds these criminals-including financial advisors, medical providers, businesspeople, elected and appointed officials, and law enforcement officers-perpetrate are beyond the resources of county prosecutors to prosecute and punish effectively. In short, absent coordinated federal involvement led by this Office, many fraudsters and corrupt officials in the Southern District of Indiana would avoid prison, and some would avoid prosecution altogether.
STRATEGIC RESPONSE #5:
5.1 Continue to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of complex, large-scale fraud schemes that warrant federal resources and expertise, particularly those that exploit vulnerable victims, abuse positions of trust, undermine faith in the markets, pilfer public programs, or are perpetrated by career fraudsters.
5.2 Utilizing the District's Health Care Fraud Task Force, detect and prosecute more cases of fraud and abuse that harm the public and the healthcare system. As part of this effort, work with agencies, including HHS, the FBI, and the Indiana Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, to prioritize the prosecution of individuals - particularly health care providers - who undermine the healthcare system. Promote cooperation between our Office and federal and state regulatory agencies as part of the Office's overall effort to identify and target fraud within and upon governmental bodies. Use Affirmative Civil Enforcement or parallel civil remedies where appropriate to divest perpetrators of fraud on the United States of their assets and ill-gotten gains.
5.3 Working with the FBI Public Corruption Squad, the Internal Revenue Service, federal inspectors general, and Indiana State law enforcement, continue to target, investigate, and prosecute officials violating the public trust in the District. This Office will prioritize bribery, kickbacks, theft, extortion, and fraud by elected and appointed officials, as well as those individuals the public trusts to enforce the law in this State and District.
5.4 Continue to work with the Internal Revenue Service, including the Suspicious Activity Report Review Team, to prosecute individuals engaged in: income tax evasion; the filing of false tax returns; schemes to defraud involving tax returns; stolen identify refund fraud; and money laundering.
5.5 Decline cases that are within county prosecutors' ability to prosecute effectively, such as simple embezzlement cases and cases where effective alternatives to federal prosecution are available.
5.6 Whenever possible, use criminal forfeiture as an effective tool in this effort by identifying assets early in the investigation using both the asset forfeiture expertise of this Office and the investigative agencies.
5.7 In furtherance of this strategic response and in consultation with the Criminal Chief, the General Crimes Unit Deputy Chief and the Evansville Branch Chief shall determine metrics to measure the success of the General Crimes Unit and Evansville Branch Office. Metrics should be tailored to the challenges and responses outlined above. At regular intervals, the Deputy Chief and Evansville Branch Chief shall communicate the performance metrics and, if necessary, any ideas for improving performance to the United States Attorney.
6. DEFEND THE INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES AND ITS EMPLOYEES, FOCUSING ON MATTERS INVOLVING THE FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL COMPLEX - TERRE HAUTE
(United States Department of Justice Strategic Goals #2.6, 3.3)
CHALLENGE #6: The Southern District of Indiana is home to a large correctional complex and the federal system's lone death row. The Seventh Circuit has recently encouraged district courts to create a more robust system for resolving prisoners' medical claims, which adds to the already heavy workload our Office's Civil Division carries relating to the prison. Beyond that, like other regions nationwide, this District must confront civil healthcare fraud and other program fraud by individuals whose conduct threatens public funds. This Office also must defend the interests of the United States with respect to personnel decisions, forfeited property, bankruptcy, and various constitutional and administrative concerns.
STRATEGIC RESPONSE #6:
6.1 Continue to provide high quality legal representation in defense of the interests of the United States. A priority of our Civil Division will be defending against an increasing number of medical malpractice, constitutional tort, habeas corpus, and other civil prisoner actions arising out of the Federal Correctional Complex - Terre Haute. Continue to work with the District Court in an effort to manage the flow of medical malpractice claims arising from the prison.
6.2 Continue to serve our veterans and ensure that they are getting high quality service by working with the Department of Veterans Affairs to vigorously defend it against claims related to personnel decisions.
6.3 Utilizing the Asset Forfeiture Unit, appropriately divest criminals of assets that are the fruits of their crimes.
6.4 Enforce the collection of criminal impositions and civil debts owed to the United States to maximize recoveries to the United States Treasury and to victims of crime.
6.5 Utilize the civil penalty provisions of Drug Enforcement Administration statutes in appropriate matters to enhance enforcement of prescription drug violations.
6.6 In furtherance of this strategic response and in consultation with the First Assistant United States Attorney, the Civil Chief shall determine metrics to measure the success of the Civil Division. Metrics should be tailored to the challenges and responses outlined above. At regular intervals, the Civil Chief shall communicate the performance metrics and, if necessary, any ideas for improving performance to the United States Attorney.
7. MAINTAIN A ROBUST PROGRAM OF PROMOTING AND ENFORCING FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS
(United States Department of Justice Strategic Goal #2.5)
CHALLENGE #7: A central mission of the Department of Justice is protecting members of the public from violations of their civil rights. Like other areas of the country, the Southern District of Indiana must confront the forces of prejudice within the scope of the federal civil rights laws. This Office must take the lead in educating the public in this District on the nature and implications of those laws. The Office must also police individuals and institutions who run afoul of federal civil rights statutes, including those instances that rise to the level of criminal conduct.
STRATEGIC RESPONSE #7:
7.1 Identify, investigate, and prosecute civil rights violations that rise to the level of criminal conduct. This includes illegal conduct by law enforcement officers, as well as hate crimes. Coordinate efforts to prosecute criminal violations of civil rights laws with the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice.
7.2 Regularly communicate with local, state (including the Indiana State Civil Rights Commission), and federal law enforcement officials as part of the Office's efforts to identify, investigate, and prosecute criminal violations of civil rights laws.
7.3 Educate local organizations and law enforcement agencies about the Office's commitment to the enforcement of civil rights within Indiana through outreach and communication with local groups, organizations, and state and local law enforcement officials.
7.4 Prioritize enforcement of civil rights laws by creating and maintaining effective partnerships with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice regarding the Fair Housing Act, the Fair Lending Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other civil rights statutes. Vigorously pursue appropriate remedies for violations of such statutes in the District.
8. FOSTER A PROFESSIONAL OFFICE CULTURE WITH THE OBJECTIVE OF ENHANCING COMMUNICATION, UNITY, AND PERFORMANCE
CHALLENGE #8: A healthy office environment and clear standards of performance and professionalism are critical to meeting all of the challenges this District faces. A professional culture translates into better work product, sustained positive morale, and the recruitment and maintenance of high-level talent. The hallmarks of the Office's culture will be communication, unity, and performance. The occasion of a new Strategic Plan presents an opportunity for all of us to clarify our shared obligations and responsibilities as a law firm representing the United States of America. It also allows us to improve organizational structure, increase office resources, undertake smarter resource allocation, and promote initiatives that make the most of the many dedicated and talented individuals working for the United States in this Office.
STRATEGIC RESPONSE #8:
8.1 Supervisors, AUSAs, and staff will develop and periodically assess individualized performance and professionalism goals for AUSAs and staff relative to this Strategic Plan. The Office will reward the most professional and highest performing employees. Supervisors will provide underperforming employees with clear constructive guidance in order to improve their professionalism and performance relative to this Strategic Plan.
8.2 Introduce a new office structure and accompanying organizational chart in response to feedback from employees in the Office, and offer opportunities to implement leadership changes as part of the United States Attorney transition. As a further part of the transition, clarify expectations for each leadership role and promote transparency and efficiency in the fulfillment of managerial duties. The objective of this reorganization is to improve communication, unity, and performance; streamline office management; encourage the development of future leaders in the Office; and take advantage of existing human resources to the greatest possible extent.
8.3 Form a working group consisting of Supervisory AUSAs and line AUSAs with the goal of assessing standards of professionalism for all AUSAs in the District and, if necessary, suggesting new standards that address issues the working group identifies. If the working group proposes new standards and the United States Attorney approves them, the standards will be communicated and implemented, and will be part of performance evaluations. If the working group identifies problems but cannot agree on solutions, the United States Attorney will be obligated to create solutions. The objective of this process is to improve AUSA communication, unity, and performance.
8.4 Undertake a concerted effort to request all resources made available by the Department of Justice that are relevant to the needs of this District. As this District is 93rd out of 94 districts in AUSA to population ratio, priority will be given to requesting additional AUSA FTEs. The goal will be to increase the number of AUSAs in the district from 36 AUSAs (35. 76 FTE) to 45 AUSAs. Other resource requests, such as office space and/or additional support staff, will also be made. The objective of this response is to make the Office as responsive as possible to the needs of the District, to improve human resources, and to increase employee morale as part of the overall effort to improve the professionalism of the Office.
8.5 Encourage AUSAs and staff to propose any initiative they believe would improve the communication, unity, or performance of the Office. This will encourage all employees to personally invest in the present and future of the Office and the overall mission of the Department of Justice.
9. MAXIMIZE EFFECTIVENESS OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, BUDGET, HUMAN RESOURCES, AND FACILITIES MANAGEMENT
CHALLENGE #9: To Meet the challenges in this District, our Office depends every day on the proper functioning of our networks, the sound maintenance of our budget, and the appropriate management of our human resources and facilities.
STRATEGIC RESPONSE #9:
9.1 Review available resources in support of Office programs and priorities. Develop and maintain budget plans to ensure maximum use of all available resources.
9.2 Coordinate, research, procure, and implement emerging technologies. Encourage employee feedback aimed at deploying additional or advanced technologies that can enhance performance and improve Office productivity.
9.3 Continue to maximize the quality of information entered into Case View, CDCS, VNS, and any other relevant program, to provide management and staff with effective decision-making and reference tools.
9.4 Revise and consolidate office policies and procedures where appropriate, and post any relevant policies to the Office Intranet.
9.5 Support the Department's diversity management initiative in order to recruit and hire highly qualified persons of diverse backgrounds.
9.6 Provide guidance, assistance, and training in all areas of Human Resource services.
9.7 Review Office programs and procedures to ensure compliance with mandatory evaluations and audits.
10. PROMOTE EFFECTIVE EXTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS
(United States Department of Justice Strategic Goal #3.1)
CHALLENGE #10: The effectiveness of the United States Attorney's Office depends in part on the maintenance of various relationships, both with other law enforcement entities and with members of the larger community. The Office must continue to maintain and enhance existing partnerships, develop new relationships, clarify its objectives, and work with organizations at all levels to achieve common objectives.
STRATEGIC RESPONSE #10:
10.1 Maintain strong interagency relationships through regular meetings with federal, state, and local law enforcement leadership as deemed necessary by the United States Attorney and the Law Enforcement Coordinator.
10.2 Maintain support for current community outreach programs. In communicating with community partners, remain open to identifying areas in which additional outreach programs will be beneficial to the community.
10.3 Disseminate information to the public and media through the Public Information Officer about the work of the Office throughout the District. This public affairs and media policy will be driven by the Public Information Officer, Assistant United States Attorneys, and our law enforcement partners.
10.4 Employ the United States Attorney Awards and other initiatives to recognize the work of contributing agencies.
10.5 Continue meetings between the Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee, Victim-Witness Coordinator, and Public Information Officer to identify and coordinate training events.