Crime Technology:

Federal Assistance to State and Local Law Enforcement

GGD-99-101: Published: Jun 7, 1999. Publicly Released: Jul 7, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the crime technology assistance provided by the federal government to state and local law enforcement agencies for fiscal years 1996 through 1998, focusing on the types and amounts of assistance provided by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of the Treasury, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

GAO noted that: (1) identifiable crime technology assistance provided by DOJ, Treasury, and ONDCP to state and local law enforcement agencies during fiscal years 1996 through 1998 totalled an estimated $1.2 billion; (2) this total is conservative because--given that these federal agencies are not required to, and do not specifically track crime technology assistance separately in their accounting systems--GAO included only amounts that could be identified or reasonably estimated by agency officials or GAO; (3) this estimate was particularly conservative regarding multipurpose grants, which by design can be used for a variety of purposes; (4) further, regarding applicable support services and systems, GAO did not include personnel costs; (5) the large majority of identified crime technology assistance to state and local law enforcement agencies--$1.0 billion or about 85 percent of the estimated $1.2 billion total during fiscal years 1996 through 1998--was grants, all of which were administered by DOJ; (6) the three largest crime technology assistance grants during the 3 fiscal years were the: (a) Office of Community Oriented Policing Services' Making Officer Redeployment Effective grants ($466.1 million); (b) Bureau of Justice Assistance's Byrne Formula Grants ($188.0 million); and (c) the Bureau of Justice Statistics' National Criminal History Improvement Program ($147.2 million); (7) support services and systems was estimated to be the second largest category of crime technology assistance provided to state and local law enforcement agencies; (8) in this category, DOJ was the major provider, with an estimated $146.6 million in assistance compared to Treasury's $15.9 million; (9) regarding in-kind transfers, responses from the three agencies GAO reviewed indicated that only ONDCP had an established, relevant program; and (10) ONDCP's technology transfer program totalled an estimated $13.0 million in assistance during fiscal year 1998, the first year of the program's existence.

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