Federal Fugitive Apprehension:

Agencies Taking Action to Improve Coordination and Cooperation

GGD-95-75: Published: May 2, 1995. Publicly Released: May 2, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Justice's 1988 federal fugitive apprehension policy, focusing on interagency coordination problems and agencies' efforts to address those problems.

GAO found that: (1) officials from all federal agencies involved in fugitive apprehension stated that they did not have extensive interagency coordination problems, overlapping or duplicate efforts, or jurisdictional disputes; (2) none of the agencies had empirical data on the 727 fugitives who were wanted by more than one agency; (3) interagency coordination problems could jeopardize fugitive apprehension efforts, endanger law enforcement officials and the general public, and waste limited law enforcement resources; (4) some interagency coordination problems such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) and the U.S. Marshals Service's (USMS) failure to participate in each other's fugitive task forces, disagreements over responsibility for prison escapes involving possible conspiracy charges, and agencies' failure to cooperate with the apprehension of other countries' fugitives adversely affected the effectiveness of federal fugitive apprehension efforts; (5) FBI and USMS have taken actions to deal with interagency problems to improve coordination and eliminate duplication; and (6) Justice established the Office of Investigative Agency Policies to resolve coordination problems, ensure efficiencies in overlapping efforts, and determine whether fugitive responsibilities are properly aligned among agencies.

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