Forest Service:

Information on Law Enforcement Activities

T-RCED-98-201: Published: Jun 23, 1998. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 1998.

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GAO discussed law enforcement activities in the Forest Service, focusing on the: (1) number of employees involved in law enforcement activities; (2) costs associated with these activities; (3) interaction between the Forest Service and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies; (4) number and types of crimes committed on national forest lands; and (5) number of complaints against the agency's law enforcement staff.

GAO noted that: (1) in fiscal year 1997, the Forest Service's law enforcement program included 708 agency staff, including law enforcement officers, special agents, reserve law enforcement officers, and administrative staff; (2) the cost of law enforcement in the agency was about $68.5 million; (3) this included about $43.8 million in salaries, $18.4 million in support costs, and $6.3 million in reimbursements to state and local law enforcement agencies for assisting with law enforcement activities on national forest lands; (4) in 1996, there were 3,481 offenses involving serious misdemeanors and felonies such as assault, grand theft, and murder, and 118,596 petty offenses such as careless driving, discharging a firearm, use of firecrackers, alcohol violations, and permit violations; (5) there were 4 complaints against Forest Service law enforcement personnel in 1992; 13 complaints in 1993; 20 complaints in 1994; 25 complaints in 1995; 11 complaints in 1996; and 14 complaints in 1997; and (6) the Forest Service has a system to track the investigation and resolution of complaints against law enforcement staff.

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