Federal Law Enforcement:

Survey of Federal Civilian Law Enforcement Mandatory Basic Training

GAO-07-815: Published: Aug 10, 2007. Publicly Released: Sep 10, 2007.

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Federal law enforcement officers (LEO) are required to complete mandatory basic training in order to exercise their law enforcement authorities. GAO was asked to identify federal mandatory law enforcement basic training programs. This report builds on GAO's prior work surveying federal civilian law enforcement components regarding their functions and authorities (see GAO-07-121, December 2006). GAO defined an LEO as an individual authorized to perform any of four functions: conduct criminal investigations, execute search warrants, make arrests, or carry firearms. In this report GAO describes (1) the mandatory basic law enforcement training that the components reported requiring their LEOs to complete and the federal law enforcement job series classifications for which basic training programs are mandatory; and (2) a breakdown of the delivery of the of basic training programs, by type of organization providing the training and location. To conduct this work, GAO administered a Web-based survey to 105 federal civilian law enforcement components. Each was requested to self-report on, required basic training programs for LEOs, the organizations conducting the training, training locations, and the job series for which programs are mandatory. GAO is not making recommendations.

Based on the responses of the 105 federal civilian law enforcement components surveyed, GAO identified 76 unique mandatory basic training programs. Among these, four programs in particular were cited by the components more often than others as mandatory for their LEOs. Of the remaining 72 unique basic training programs, each was common to just one to three components. Some of these basic training programs are required for job series classifications representing large portions of the overall LEO population. For example, newly hired employees at the Federal Bureau of Prisons encompass 159 different job series classifications. This large number of job series classifications is required to take the same two unique basic training programs. Of the 105 components surveyed, 37 components reported exclusively using the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC)--the largest single provider of law enforcement training for the federal government. Another 44 components reported using a combination of FLETC and other training organizations, including their own organization, a federal or state law enforcement agency, or commercial vendor. Thirteen components reported that they did not use FLETC but instead conducted their own training programs and used their own facilities. Eleven components reported hiring LEOs who had already received basic training. A draft of this report was provided for comment to the agencies included in the survey. Their technical comments were incorporated as appropriate.

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