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Homeland Security: 

Preliminary Observations on the Federal Protective Service's Efforts to 
Protect Federal Property 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
GAO: 

Testimony: 

Before the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and 
Emergency Management, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, 
House of Representatives: 

For Release on Delivery: 
Expected at 9:00 a.m. EST:
Friday, February 8, 2008: 

Homeland Security: 

Preliminary Observations on the Federal Protective Service's Efforts to 
Protect Federal Property: 

Statement of Mark L. Goldstein: 
Director Physical Infrastructure Issues: 

GAO-08-476T: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-08-476T, a testimony to Chair, Subcommittee on 
Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, 
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, House of 
Representatives. 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

In 2003, the Federal Protective Service (FPS) was transferred from the 
General Services Administration (GSA) to the Department of Homeland 
Security (DHS) and is currently tasked with providing physical security 
and law enforcement services to about 8,800 facilities owned or leased 
by GSA. To accomplish its mission, FPS currently has a workforce of 
about 1,100 employees and about 15,000 contract guards located 
throughout the country. 

While there has not been a large-scale attack on a domestic federal 
facility since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the 1995 
terrorist attack on the Oklahoma City Federal Building, it is important 
that FPS has sufficient resources and an effective approach to protect 
federal employees and members of the public that work in and visit 
federal facilities from the risk of crime and terrorist attacks. GAO 
was asked to provide information and analysis on (1) the extent to 
which FPS is fulfilling its mission to protect federal employees and 
facilities and (2) the management challenges FPS faces. To address 
these objectives, GAO analyzed FPS staffing data and interviewed 
numerous FPS officials, GSA, tenant agencies, and local police 
departments. 

What GAO Found: 

Due to staffing and operational issues, FPS is experiencing 
difficulties in fully meeting its facility protection mission. 
According to many FPS officials at regions we visited, these 
difficulties may expose federal facilities to a greater risk of crime 
or terrorist attack. FPS workforce has decreased by nearly 20 percent 
from almost 1,400 in fiscal year 2004 to about 1,100 at the end of 
fiscal year 2007. In fiscal year 2007, FPS had about 756 inspectors and 
police officers, and about 15,000 contract guards who are used 
primarily to monitor facilities through fixed post assignments and 
access control. FPS is also implementing a policy to change the 
composition of its workforce whereby it will essentially eliminate the 
police officer position and mainly utilize inspectors. One consequence 
of this change is that, with the exception of a few locations, FPS is 
not providing proactive patrols in and around federal facilities in 
order to detect and prevent criminal incidents and terrorism related 
activities before they occur. FPS has also reduced its hours of 
operation in many locations and has not always maintained security 
countermeasures and equipment such as security cameras, magnetometers, 
x-ray machines, radios, building security assessment equipment, and 
access control systems at some facilities we visited. For example, at 
one location we visited, a deceased individual had been found, after 
three months, in a vacant GSA facility that was not regularly patrolled 
by FPS. 

FPS continues to face several management challenges that, according to 
many FPS officials at regions we visited, have hampered its ability to 
accomplish its facility protection mission. These include budgetary 
challenges, a lack of adequate contract guard oversight, and the 
absence of agreements with local police departments regarding response 
capabilities or jurisdictional issues at federal facilities. 
Historically and recently, FPS revenues have not been sufficient to 
cover its operational costs. To address its recent revenue shortfall 
FPS has restricted hiring and travel, limited training and overtime, 
and eliminated employee performance awards. These measures have had a 
negative effect on staff morale, contributed to FPS high attrition 
rates, and may affect the performance and safety of FPS personnel. 
Moreover, many FPS officials expressed concern about the lack of 
oversight of the 15,000 contract guards and poor performance by some 
guards when responding to crime and incidents at federal facilities. 
FPS has indicated that they are covering facility protection gaps 
through increased reliance on local law enforcement but it has not 
signed any agreements with local law enforcement agencies to ensure 
local assistance or resolved jurisdictional issues, which could 
authorize local police to respond to some incidents at federal 
facilities. Multiple local police departments said they were not aware 
of FPS expected reliance on their services. 

What GAO Recommends: 

We have ongoing work addressing these issues and will report our 
complete evaluation along with any appropriate recommendations at a 
later date. 

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
[hyperlink, http://www.GAO-08-476T]. For more information, contact Mark 
L. Goldstein at (202) 512-2834 or goldsteinm@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

Madam Chair and Members of the Subcommittee: 

We are pleased to be here to discuss the efforts of the Federal 
Protective Service (FPS) in protecting federal employees, the public, 
and federal facilities. As you know, in 2003, FPS was transferred from 
the General Services Administration (GSA) to the Department of Homeland 
Security (DHS) and is currently tasked with providing physical security 
and law enforcement services to about 8,800 facilities owned or leased 
by GSA. Within DHS, FPS is part of the Immigration and Customs 
Enforcement (ICE) component, the largest investigative arm of DHS. To 
accomplish its facility protection mission, FPS currently has a 
workforce of about 1,100 employees and about 15,000 contract guards 
located throughout the country. While there has not been a large-scale 
attack on a domestic federal facility since the terrorist attacks of 
September 11, 2001 and the 1995 terrorist attack on the Oklahoma City 
Federal Building, it is important that FPS has sufficient resources and 
an effective approach to protect the over one million employees as well 
as members of the public that work in and visit federal facilities from 
the risk of terrorist attacks, crime, or related activities. 

This testimony provides preliminary information and analysis on (1) the 
extent to which FPS is fulfilling its mission to protect federal 
employees and facilities and (2) the management challenges FPS faces. 
It is based on the preliminary results of our ongoing review of FPS 
which we are doing at the request of this Subcommittee and several 
other congressional committees. 

To determine the extent to which FPS is fulfilling its facility 
protection mission and to identify the management challenges it faces, 
we analyzed FPS staffing data from fiscal year 2004 through fiscal year 
2007 to identify trends in staffing. We interviewed FPS officers, 
inspectors, and administrators at headquarters and at six of FPS' 11 
regions. We also interviewed GSA, tenant agencies, and local police 
departments about FPS' efforts to protect federal employees, 
facilities, and the public. Due to the sensitivity of some of the 
information in this report we cannot provide information about the 
specific locations of crime or other incidents discussed. We conducted 
our work between April 2007 and February 2008 in accordance with 
generally accepted government auditing standards. 

In summary: 

Due to staffing and operational issues, FPS is experiencing 
difficulties in fully meeting its facility protection mission. 
According to many FPS officials at regions we visited, these 
difficulties may expose federal facilities to a greater risk of crime 
or terrorist attack. FPS' workforce, including both operational and 
support personnel, has decreased by about 20 percent from almost 1,400 
in fiscal year 2004 to about 1,100 at the end of fiscal year 2007. In 
fiscal year 2007, FPS had 756 inspectors and police officers 
responsible for law enforcement, and about 15,000 contract guards who 
are used primarily to monitor facilities through fixed post assignments 
and access control. FPS is also implementing a policy to change the 
composition of its workforce whereby it will essentially eliminate the 
police officer position and mainly utilize inspectors, which have both 
physical security training and federal law enforcement authority. 
According to FPS officials, this policy change will allow it to address 
longstanding challenges such as funding and help ensure that it has the 
right mix of staff to carry out its facility protection mission. One 
consequence of this change is that, in many federal facilities FPS is 
not providing proactive patrol in and around federal facilities in 
order to detect and prevent criminal incidents and terrorism related 
activities before they occur. For example, at one location we visited, 
a deceased individual had been found in a vacant GSA facility that was 
not regularly patrolled by FPS. The deceased individual had been inside 
the building for approximately three months before the individual was 
found. In addition, reports issued by multiple government entities 
acknowledge the importance of proactive patrol in detecting and 
deterring terrorist surveillance teams, which frequently use 
information such as the placement of armed guards and proximity to law 
enforcement agency stations when choosing targets and planning attacks. 
These sophisticated surveillance and research techniques can 
potentially be derailed by active law enforcement patrols in and around 
federal facilities. FPS has also reduced its hours of operation in many 
locations and has not always maintained security countermeasures and 
equipment such as security cameras, magnetometers, x-ray machines, 
radios, and building security assessment equipment at some facilities 
we visited. 

FPS continues to face several management challenges that many FPS 
officials at regions we visited say have hampered its ability to 
achieve its mission and increased the risk of criminal and terrorist 
attacks on federal employees, facilities, and members of the public. 
These include budgetary challenges, a lack of adequate contract guard 
oversight and the absence of agreements with local police departments 
regarding response capabilities or jurisdictional issues at federal 
facilities. Historically and recently, FPS' revenues have not been 
sufficient to cover its operational costs. This revenue shortfall has 
been addressed in a variety of ways. For example, when FPS was located 
at GSA it received additional funding from the Federal Buildings Fund. 
These funds were not available after FPS was transferred to DHS, which 
caused FPS to experience a revenue shortfall and to subsequently 
implement cost saving measures as well as increase security fees 
charged to tenants. For example, in fiscal year 2005 FPS faced a 
projected revenue shortfall of $70 million and instituted cost saving 
measures that included restricted hiring and travel, limited training 
and overtime, and no employee performance awards. These measures have 
had a negative effect on staff morale, are partially responsible for 
FPS' high attrition rates, and could potentially impact the performance 
and safety of FPS personnel. In addition to these measures, FPS raised 
the basic security fee charged to tenants from $.35 per square foot in 
fiscal year 2005, to $.39 per square foot in fiscal year 2007, and to 
$.57 per square foot in fiscal year 2008. FPS and tenant officials 
stated that contract guards are an important part of security at 
federal facilities and that many are very effective. However, many 
other FPS officials at regions we visited expressed concern about the 
adequacy of contract guard oversight and poor performance by some 
guards when responding to crime and incidents at federal facilities. 
FPS stated that it is covering facility protection gaps through 
increased reliance on local law enforcement. However, according to FPS, 
it has not signed any agreements with local law enforcement agencies to 
ensure local assistance or to resolve jurisdictional issues, which 
could authorize local police to respond to incidents at federal 
facilities. Also, local law enforcement officials in most of the cities 
we visited said they do not have the capacity to respond to calls for 
service at federal facilities and would not sign agreements that 
require them to take on additional responsibility. Moreover, officials 
at multiple local police departments said they were not aware of FPS' 
operational challenges or expected reliance on their services. 

Background: 

As the primary federal agency that is responsible for the protection 
and security of GSA-managed federal facilities and employees across the 
country, FPS has the authority to enforce federal laws and regulations 
aimed at protecting federally owned and leased properties and the 
persons on such property, and to conduct investigations related to 
offenses against the property and persons on the property.[Footnote 1] 
At the end of fiscal year 2007, FPS had about 215 police officers, 541 
inspectors, and about 15,000 contract guards to protect federal 
employees and facilities from the risk of terrorist attacks, crime, or 
related activities. FPS inspectors are responsible for overseeing the 
contract guards, completing building security assessments for numerous 
buildings[Footnote 2], serving as contracting officer technical 
representatives (COTR) for guard contracts, responding to criminal 
incidents, collecting time cards for guards, and supporting tenant 
Building Security Committees, among other duties. FPS police officers 
are primarily responsible for patrolling federally owned and leased 
facilities, responding to criminal incidents, and assisting in the 
monitoring of contract guards. They also are the primary response force 
to demonstrations at federal facilities and perform basic criminal 
investigations. According to FPS, the 15,000 contract guards generally 
do not have the authority or training to detect suspicious terrorist or 
criminal activity and are used primarily to monitor facilities through 
fixed post assignments and access control. Most guards also do not have 
authority to detain or arrest individuals. 

The level of physical protection services FPS provides at each building 
varies depending on the building's security level. To determine a 
building's security level, FPS uses the Department of Justice standards 
listed below. 

* A level I facility has 10 or fewer federal employees, 2,500 or less 
square feet of office space and a low volume of public contact or 
contact with only a small segment of the population. A typical level I 
facility is a small storefront-type operation, such as a military 
recruiting office. 

* A level II facility has between 11 and 150 federal employees, more 
than 2,500 to 80,000 square feet; a moderate volume of public contact; 
and federal activities that are routine in nature, similar to 
commercial activities. 

* A level III facility has between 151 and 450 federal employees, more 
than 80,000 to 150,000 square feet and a moderate to high volume of 
public contact. 

* A level IV facility has over 450 federal employees, more than 150,000 
square feet; high volume of public contact; and tenant agencies that 
may include high-risk law enforcement and intelligence agencies, 
courts, judicial offices, and highly sensitive government records. 

In some cases, FPS has delegated the protection of facilities to tenant 
agencies, which may have uniformed officers of their own or may 
contract separately for guard services. 

To fund the security services it provides, FPS charges each tenant 
agency a basic security fee per square foot of space occupied in a GSA 
owned or leased facility. In fiscal year 2008, the basic security fee 
is 57 cents per square foot. FPS also charges tenant agencies a 
building specific security fee for additional security countermeasures 
such as access control to facility entrances and exits, employee and 
visitor checks; and the purchase, installation, and maintenance of 
security equipment including cameras, alarms, magnetometers, and x-ray 
machines. In addition to these security services, FPS also provides 
agencies with additional services, upon request, which are funded 
through reimbursable Security Work Authorizations (SWA). For example, 
agencies may request additional magnetometers or more advanced 
perimeter surveillance capabilities. 

FPS Faces Difficulties in Fully Meeting Its Mission to Protect Federal 
Facilities: 

FPS is having difficulty fully meeting its mission to provide law 
enforcement and security services at some of the 8,800 federal 
facilities it is responsible for protecting and these facilities face a 
greater risk of crime or terrorist attacks. Based on our preliminary 
analysis, a steady decrease in FPS' workforce is a significant 
difficulty that FPS faces in protecting federal facilities and this 
decrease, along with policy changes to reduce the number of police 
officers, has hampered its ability to provide proactive patrols. In 
addition, budgetary challenges have hampered FPS' ability to maintain 
security countermeasures and equipment at some facilities we visited. 

FPS Workforce Issues: 

FPS faces several unresolved workforce issues. First, FPS' workforce 
has decreased by about 20 percent since fiscal year 2004 from almost 
1,400 to about 1,100 in fiscal year 2007, as shown in figure 1. 

Figure 1: FPS Workforce, Fiscal Years 2004 through 2007: 

[See PDF for image] 

This figure is a line graph illustrating the FPS Workforce, Fiscal 
Years 2004 through 2007. The vertical axis of the graph represents 
number of staff from 0 to 1,600. The horizontal axis of the graph 
represents fiscal years 2004 through 2007. The line depicts a decrease 
in FPS workforce from about 1,400 in fiscal year 2004 to about 1,10 in 
fiscal year 2007. 

Source: Federal Protective Service. 

[End of figure] 

During this timeframe, the number of employees in each position also 
decreased, with the largest decrease occurring in the police officer 
position. For example, based on FPS reports, the number of police 
officers decreased from 359 in fiscal year 2004 to 215 in fiscal year 
2007 and the number of inspectors (sometimes referred to as physical 
security specialists) decreased from 600 in fiscal year 2004 to 541 in 
fiscal year 2007, as shown in figure 2. 

Figure 2: Comparison of FPS Workforce By Position, Fiscal Years 2004 
through 2007: 

[See PDF for image] 

This figure is a multiple line graph illustrating a Comparison of FPS 
Workforce By Position, Fiscal Years 2004 through 2007. The vertical 
axis of the graph represents number of staff from 0 to 700. The 
horizontal axis of the graph represents fiscal years 2004 through 2007. 
Three lines depict a decrease in FPS workforces: 

Police officers: decrease from 359 in 2004 to 215 in 2007; 
Inspectors: decrease from 600 in 2004 to 541 in 2007; 
Others: decrease from approximately 420 in 2004 to 380 in 2007. 

Source: Federal Protective Service. 

Note: Others include FPS special agents and administrative and support 
staff. 

[End of figure] 

According to FPS officials, the decreases in FPS' workforce are 
primarily the result of cost saving measures taken to address its 
budgetary challenges. 

Second, FPS has also adopted a policy that will change the composition 
of its workforce from a combination of inspectors and police officers 
to a workforce comprised mainly of inspectors and will essentially 
phase out police officers. Under this new policy, FPS will rely on 
local police departments for assistance with crime and other incidents 
at federal facilities. This new policy will increase FPS' focus on the 
physical security components of its mission, such as building security 
assessments and contract management. FPS stated that this new policy 
will ensure that it is equipped with the right people who have the 
right mix of skills and training to carry out its mission and will help 
to address its budgetary challenges. While the new policy has not been 
approved by DHS, FPS has started transitioning to an inspector based 
workforce. Many FPS officials at locations we visited believe this 
transition and recent staffing reductions have increased the risk of 
terrorist or criminal activities at some federal facilities. Moreover, 
one consequence of these changes is that it has left some federal 
facilities in regions that we visited with little or no coverage by a 
FPS police officer or inspector. For example, the number of FPS 
officers assigned to one level IV facility decreased from six to zero. 
In another example, at the time we visited one region, FPS had not 
reassigned about 70 buildings that were the responsibility of an 
inspector who had retired six months ago, leaving the contract guards 
at those facilities without supervision. 

Third, FPS also may have difficulty determining how to allocate its 
limited resources effectively because of concerns about the reliability 
of information in its data management systems for tracking and 
monitoring crime and other incidents. While FPS maintains nationwide 
data on reported crimes and other incidents, according to many FPS 
officials at the regions we visited, the agency's data may not be a 
reliable indicator of crimes and other incidents for a number of 
reasons. In addition, our preliminary analysis of the data shows a 
significant discrepancy between the information maintained at FPS 
headquarters and a regional office. Specifically, FPS headquarters' 
data shows that crime is decreasing in that region while the region's 
reports show that crime is increasing. As such, we are in the process 
of determining the reliability of this data and plan to include the 
results of our analysis in our final report to this Subcommittee. 

Issues With Limited Proactive Patrol: 

In many federal facilities FPS is not currently providing proactive 
patrol to detect and prevent criminal incidents and terrorist attacks 
before they occur. The elimination of proactive patrol has a negative 
effect on security at federal buildings because law enforcement 
personnel cannot effectively monitor individuals surveilling federal 
buildings, inspect suspicious vehicles (including potential vehicles 
for bombing federal buildings), and detect and deter criminal activity 
in and around federal buildings. According to many FPS officials at 
regions we visited, this has effectively limited its law enforcement 
personnel to a reactive force. In addition, FPS officials at several 
regions we visited said that proactive patrol has, in the past, allowed 
its officers and inspectors to identify and apprehend individuals that 
were surveilling federal facilities (potentially for use in a future 
attack). In contrast, when FPS is not able to patrol federal buildings, 
there is increased potential for illegal entry and other criminal 
activity at federal buildings. For example, at one city we visited, a 
deceased individual had been found in a vacant GSA facility that was 
not regularly patrolled by FPS. FPS officials stated that the deceased 
individual had been inside the building for approximately three months. 
Reports issued by multiple government entities acknowledge the 
importance of proactive patrol in detecting and deterring terrorist 
surveillance teams, which frequently use information such as the 
placement of armed guards and proximity to law enforcement agency 
stations when choosing targets and planning attacks. These 
sophisticated surveillance and research techniques can potentially be 
derailed by active law enforcement patrols in and around federal 
facilities. 

In addition to eliminating proactive patrol, FPS regions have reduced 
their hours of operation in many locations, which has resulted in a 
lack of coverage when most federal employees are either entering or 
leaving federal buildings. Moreover, FPS officers and inspectors in two 
cities explained that this lack of coverage has left some federal day 
care facilities vulnerable to loitering by homeless individuals and 
drug users. Many FPS officers and inspectors also said that reducing 
hours has increased response time in some locations by as much as a few 
hours to a couple of days, depending on the location of the incident. 
For example, one consequence of reduced hours is that some officers 
often have to travel from locations in another state in order to 
respond to incidents in both major metropolitan and rural locations. 

Additionally, FPS has a decreased capacity to handle situations in 
which a large FPS presence is needed while maintaining day-to-day 
operations. For example, during a high-profile criminal trial 
approximately 75 percent of one region's workforce was detailed to 
coordinate with local police to provide perimeter security for a 
courthouse, leaving few FPS officers and inspectors to respond to 
criminal incidents and other tenant needs in the rest of the region. 
This problem was also reported by inspectors in several other regions 
in the context of providing law enforcement at public demonstrations 
and criminal trials, which can occur frequently at some federal 
facilities. 

The decrease in FPS' staff and duty hours has had a potentially 
negative effect on officer and inspector safety, as well as building 
security. Because FPS regions have reduced their hours of operation and 
overtime, officers and inspectors said that they are frequently in 
dangerous situations without any backup. In one region, FPS officials 
said that a public demonstration in a large metropolitan area required 
that all eight officers and inspectors scheduled to work during the 
shift be deployed to the demonstration for crowd control. During the 
demonstration, however, two inspectors had to leave the demonstration 
to arrest a suspect at another facility; two more also left to respond 
to a building alarm. Four FPS personnel remained to cover the 
demonstration. The officials stated that several years ago the minimum 
manpower guidelines required that at least 12 law enforcement personnel 
be on duty each shift in order to ensure officer safety. These 
officials stated that they no longer have the personnel to comply with 
this guideline. 

Some Security Countermeasure Equipment Has Not Been Maintained: 

According to officials at FPS, GSA, and tenant agencies in the regions 
we visited, many of the security countermeasures, such as security 
cameras, magnetometers, and x-ray machines at some facilities, as well 
as some FPS radios and building security assessment equipment, have 
been broken for months or years and are poorly maintained. At one level 
IV facility, FPS and GSA officials stated that only 11 of 150 security 
cameras were fully functional and able to record images. Similarly, at 
another level IV facility, a large camera project designed to expand 
and enhance an existing camera system was put on hold because FPS did 
not have the funds to complete the project. While ongoing, this project 
has not been completed. FPS officials stated that broken cameras and 
other security equipment can negate the deterrent effect of these 
countermeasures as well as eliminate their usefulness as an 
investigative tool. For example, according to FPS, at multiple level IV 
facilities it has investigated significant crimes, but the security 
cameras installed in those buildings were not working properly, 
preventing FPS investigators from identifying the suspects. 

Complicating this issue, FPS officials, GSA officials, and tenant 
representatives stated that additional countermeasures are difficult to 
implement because they require approval from building security 
committees, which are comprised of representatives from each tenant 
agency who generally are not security professionals. In many of the 
buildings that we visited, security countermeasures were not 
implemented because building security committee members cannot agree on 
what countermeasures to implement or are unable to obtain funding from 
their agencies. In addition, several FPS inspectors stated that their 
regional managers have instructed them not to recommend security 
countermeasures in building security assessments if FPS would be 
responsible for funding the measures because there is not sufficient 
money in regional budgets to purchase and maintain the security 
equipment. 

Several Management Challenges Hamper FPS' Ability to Protect Federal 
Facilities: 

FPS continues to face several management challenges that have hampered 
its ability to achieve its mission which, according to many FPS 
officials at regions we visited, have increased the risk of criminal 
and terrorist attacks on federal employees, facilities, and members of 
the public. These include budgetary challenges, a lack of sufficient 
contract guard oversight to ensure adequate performance, and the 
absence of agreements with local police departments regarding response 
capabilities or jurisdictional issues at federal facilities. 

FPS Has Taken Some Steps to Address Budgetary Challenges But These 
Steps Have Some Adverse Implications: 

Historically and recently, FPS' fee revenues have not been sufficient 
to cover its operational costs. When FPS was located at GSA it received 
additional funding from the Federal Buildings Fund but these funds were 
not available after FPS was transferred to DHS. The loss of this 
support has contributed to FPS' budgetary challenges in recent years. 
For example, FPS faced projected revenue shortages in fiscal years 2005 
and 2006 and has addressed them through a variety of measures. In 
fiscal year 2005, FPS projected revenues were $70 million short of 
operational costs. To make up for this and to avoid a potential Anti- 
deficiency Act violation FPS instituted a variety of cost saving 
measures that included restricted hiring and travel, limited training 
and overtime, and no employee performance awards. FPS officials said 
they faced another projected shortfall in fiscal year 2006 of $57 
million and kept existing cost saving measures in place, including: 

* forgoing the purchase of new radios which yielded almost $2 million, 

* canceling employee performance awards which yielded about $1 million, 
and; 

* reducing overtime and travel restrictions which yielded almost $1 
million. 

Despite these measures, in fiscal year 2006, DHS also had to transfer 
about $29 million in emergency funding to FPS. In fiscal year 2007, FPS 
reported saving approximately $27 million from continued cost saving 
measures. In addition to these measures, FPS raised the basic security 
fee charged to tenants from $.35 per square foot in fiscal year 2005, 
to $.39 per square foot in fiscal year 2007, and to $.57 per square 
foot in fiscal year 2008. 

According to FPS, its efforts to avoid revenue shortfalls have had 
adverse implications, including low morale among staff, increased 
attrition and the loss of institutional knowledge, as well as 
difficulties in recruiting new staff. In addition, several FPS officers 
and inspectors said that overwhelming workloads, uncertainty 
surrounding their job security, and a lack of equipment have diminished 
morale within the agency. These working conditions could potentially 
impact the performance and safety of FPS personnel. FPS officials said 
the agency has lost many of their most experienced law enforcement 
staff in recent years and several officers and inspectors said they 
were actively looking for new jobs outside FPS. For example, FPS 
reports that 73 inspectors and police officers left the agency in 
fiscal year 2006, representing about 65 percent of the total attrition 
in the agency for that year. Attrition rates have steadily increased 
from fiscal years 2004 to 2007, as shown in figure 3. The attrition 
rate for the inspector position has increased in recent years, despite 
FPS' plan to increase the number of employees in this position. 

Figure 4: FPS Attrition Rates, Fiscal Years 2004 through 2007: 

[See PDF for image] 

This figure is a multiple line graph illustrating FPS Attrition Rates, 
Fiscal Years 2004 through 2007. The vertical axis of the graph 
represents rate from 0 to 18. The horizontal axis of the graph 
represents fiscal years 2004 through 2007. Three lines depict the 
attrition rates as follows: 

Officer attrition rate: from less than 1 in 2004 to approximately 16 in 
2007; 
Inspector attrition rate: from less than 1 in 2004 to approximately 11 
in 2007; 
Overall attrition rate: from less than 1 in 2004 to approximately 14 in 
2007. 

Source: Federal Protective Service. 

[End of figure] 

Adequate Oversight of Contract Guard Performance Remains a Challenge: 

At the end of fiscal year 2007, FPS had 541 inspectors, whose 
responsibilities included overseeing 15,000 contract guards. FPS and 
tenant officials stated that contract guards are an important part of 
security at federal facilities and that many are very effective. 
However, many FPS officials we interviewed expressed concern about 
inadequate contract guard oversight and poor performance of some 
contract guards responding to criminal incidents. In addition, several 
FPS inspectors we interviewed reported difficulty finding time to 
adequately oversee contract guards in conjunction with their other 
responsibilities, which include completing building security 
assessments for numerous buildings and responding to criminal 
incidents. For example, in one region we visited, inspectors stated 
that FPS regional management instructed them to conduct contract guard 
inspections over the telephone, instead of in person. We also found 
that, in many of the regions we visited, FPS officers and inspectors 
are not always on duty during times when contract guards are protecting 
federal facilities, such as at buildings with 24 hour and weekend guard 
coverage, limiting their ability to ensure guards are performing their 
duties. At one level IV facility, for example, 20 handguns were stolen 
from a contract guard office with the assistance of a contract guard. 
FPS officials in one region said that reduced duty hours significantly 
limit their ability to oversee guards and ensure they are performing 
their mission. For example, according to this official, some contract 
guards could be sleeping while on duty in federal buildings but FPS is 
not able to stop it because of its inability to inspect locations 
during off-hours. 

FPS officials also questioned the quality of the security services 
provided by many contract guard companies, observing that many guards 
are poorly trained and are reluctant to act in emergency situations. 
For example, according to federal law enforcement and GSA officials 
from one of the regions we visited, contract guards failed to report 
the theft of a federal law enforcement agency's large surveillance 
trailer worth over $500,000, even though security cameras captured the 
trailer being stolen while guards were on duty. The federal law 
enforcement agency did not realize the trailer was missing until three 
days later. Only after the federal law enforcement agency started 
making inquiries did the guards report the theft to that agency and 
FPS. During another incident, FPS officials reported contract guards-- 
who were armed --taking no action as a shirtless suspect wearing 
handcuffs on one arm ran through the lobby of a level IV building while 
being chased by a FPS inspector. Additionally, GAO officials personally 
witnessed an incident in which an individual attempted to enter a level 
IV facility with illegal weapons. According to FPS policies, contract 
guards are required to confiscate illegal weapons, detain and question 
the individual, and to notify FPS. In this instance, the weapons were 
not confiscated, the individual was not detained or questioned, FPS was 
not notified, and the individual was allowed to leave with the weapons. 

Finally, according to FPS officials, contract guards generally do not 
have the training to detect suspicious terrorist or criminal activity 
and generally are not authorized to make arrests in most cities. FPS 
inspectors and officers also said contract guards have limited 
capability to deter crimes around federal buildings since guards are 
required to stay at fixed posts or, in some cases, may patrol limited 
portions of a building's perimeter. In addition, officials reported 
instances in which large trucks or suspicious individuals were parked 
outside federal facilities for long periods of time without being 
approached by guards. 

Memoranda of Agreement with Local Law Enforcement Not Reached and 
Jurisdictional Issues are Not Resolved: 

To protect the over one million employees as well as members of the 
public that work in and visit federal facilities, FPS is converting its 
current workforce to an inspector-based force and has stated it will 
rely more on local police departments to handle crime and protection 
issues at federal facilities. At about 380 federal facilities across 
the United States the federal government has exclusive federal 
jurisdiction[Footnote 3] and it is unclear if local police have the 
authority to respond to incidents inside those facilities. However, FPS 
has not entered into any memoranda of agreement for increased law 
enforcement assistance at federal facilities. In most of the cities we 
visited, local law enforcement officials said they would not enter into 
any agreements with FPS that involve increased responsibility for 
protecting federal facilities because of liability concerns, existing 
shortages of staff, and high levels of crime in their cities that would 
make it difficult to divert resources away from their primary mission. 
For example, local law enforcement officials from one location we 
visited said they are significantly understaffed and overburdened with 
their current mission and would not be able to take responsibility for 
protecting federal facilities. At another location, senior officials 
from a local precinct just blocks from a level IV federal facility were 
not aware of the operational and staffing changes FPS is implementing. 

Concluding Observations: 

As stated earlier, our results are preliminary. We plan to provide this 
Subcommittee with our complete evaluation and a final report on FPS' 
facility protection efforts in May 2008. We plan to begin our review of 
FPS' contract guard program as requested by this Subcommittee and other 
congressional committees in the near future. 

Agency Comments: 

We provided a draft of the testimony to DHS for review by FPS and ICE. 
FPS and ICE commented that the report was fair and generally agreed 
with our preliminary findings. 

This concludes our testimony. We are pleased to answer any questions 
you might have. 

Contact Information: 

For further information on this testimony, please contact Mark 
Goldstein at 202-512-2834 or by email at goldsteinm@gao.gov. 
Individuals making key contributions to this testimony include Daniel 
Cain, Tammy Conquest, Katie Hamer, Daniel Hoy, and Susan Michal-Smith. 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] 40 U.S.C.1315 

[2] Building Security Assessments (BSA) are conducted periodically 
according to a schedule based upon each building's threat level. For 
example, a level IV building receives a BSA every 2 years, a level III 
building receives a BSA every 3 years, a level II building receives a 
BSA every 4 years, and a level I building receives a BSA every 5 years. 

[3] The United States Constitution provides that Congress has the power 
to exercise exclusive jurisdiction in all cases in lands within a state 
purchased by the United States with the consent of the state for 
various purposes, including buildings (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 
and 40 U.S.C.  3112). If a crime is committed in an area under 
exclusive federal jurisdiction, federal criminal law applies to the 
exclusion of the state law. 

[End of section] 

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