Crime Technology:

Department of Defense Assistance to State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies

GGD-00-14: Published: Oct 12, 1999. Publicly Released: Nov 12, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the crime technology assistance provided by the Department of Defense (DOD) to state and local law enforcement agencies during fiscal years (FY) 1996 through 1998, focusing on: (1) grants or other types of direct federal funding; (2) access to support services and systems, such as counterdrug or other intelligence centers; and (3) in-kind transfers of equipment or other assets.

GAO noted that: (1) DOD said it provided no crime technology-related grants to state and local law enforcement agencies during FY 1996 through FY 1998; (2) although each state's National Guard received funds for its counterdrug program, these funds did not meet GAO's definition of crime technology assistance, with one exception; (3) GAO also did not find any other type of direct funding; (4) identifiable crime technology assistance provided by DOD to state and local law enforcement agencies during FY 1996 through FY 1998 totalled an estimated $125.9 million; (5) of this amount, about $95.9 million involved in-kind transfers, representing about 76 percent of the total; (6) although not directly intended for state and local law enforcement agencies, some of DOD's research and development efforts in recent years have had spin-off benefits for these agencies--particularly DOD's efforts to develop technologies for federal use in detecting explosives and narcotics; (7) for example, proven technologies have resulted in crime-fighting products--such as bomb detection equipment--becoming commercially available for purchase by all levels of law enforcement; and (8) GAO did not attempt to identify all relevant examples nor to quantify the costs associated with specific products because: (a) DOD's research and development efforts primarily and directly support federal agency needs; and (b) the acquisition of any resulting commercially available products generally is dependent on state and local law enforcement agencies' own budgets.

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