Law Enforcement Coordination: DOJ Could Improve Its Process for Identifying Disagreements among Agents, Report to Congressional Requesters   [open pdf - 4MB]

"According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), an estimated 1.3 million violent crimes occurred nationwide in 2009. The Department of Justice (DOJ) law enforcement components--the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Drug Enforcement Administration; FBI, and U.S. Marshals Service--have overlapping jurisdiction over violent crime investigations, specifically when they involve illegal drugs, gang violence, firearms, explosives, arson, and fugitive apprehension. As requested, GAO [Government Accountability Office] assessed the extent to which selected agents are clear on their agencies' roles and responsibilities, and how components determine and coordinate roles and responsibilities to avoid unnecessary use of resources. GAO reviewed documents such as department directives and interviewed DOJ component officials in headquarters and nine cities, which were selected based on population and the presence of all DOJ components. GAO also surveyed a randomly selected, nongeneralizable sample of 315 field agents. The results provide valuable information about the range of perspectives of surveyed agents. GAO recommends that DOJ assess options to better identify and diagnose disagreements in the field and take action to limit the negative impacts from disagreements over jurisdictional overlap for some criminal investigations. DOJ agreed with GAO's recommendation."

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