Federal Law Enforcement:
Investigative Authority and Personnel at 13 Agencies
GGD-96-154: Published: Sep 30, 1996. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 1996.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the 13 federal agencies with the largest number of law enforcement investigative personnel, focusing on: (1) the types of violations investigated by these agencies; (2) these agencies' investigative authorities; (3) the number of law enforcement investigative personnel at these agencies at the end of fiscal years 1987, 1991, and 1995; and (4) the number of personnel authorized to execute search warrants, make arrests, and carry firearms as of September 1995.
GAO found that: (1) 10 agencies employ over 90 percent of federal law enforcement investigative personnel and 3 agencies have 700 or more such personnel; (2) these agencies investigate criminal violations including organized crime, bank fraud, civil right violations, illegal immigration, violations of mail integrity and security, custom, drug trafficking, and money laundering violations, income tax violations, and passport and visa fraud; (3) the agencies derive their investigative authority primarily from statutory laws which are implemented through executive orders, agency regulations, and interagency agreements; (4) the 13 agencies employed about 42,800 law enforcement investigative personnel at the end of fiscal year (FY) 1995 and, except at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), 100 percent of the personnel could execute search warrants, make arrests, and carry firearms; (5) there was a 19 percent overall increase in investigative personnel between 1987 and 1995; and (6) the change in the number of law enforcement investigative personnel ranged from an increase of about 66 percent at INS to a decrease of about 14 percent at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.