War on Drugs:

Federal Assistance to State and Local Drug Enforcement

GGD-93-86: Published: Apr 29, 1993. Publicly Released: Jun 1, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed federal funding and oversight of multijurisdictional task forces (MJTF), specifically: (1) MJTF funding and its uses under the Byrne program; (2) how MJTF coordinated investigations with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) state and local task forces located in the same cities; and (3) how MJTF activities and funding are monitored, evaluated, and reported.

GAO found that: (1) states have consistently planned to allocate about one-third of the annual Byrne program appropriation to fund MJTF, making task forces the largest of the program's authorized spending purposes; (2) all drug law violators are targets of investigation by Byrne-funded MJTF; (3) MJTF participants include law enforcement and other criminal justice personnel representing agencies at the federal, state, and local levels; (4) 52 cities have MJTF and DEA state and local task forces, but there is no significant overlap or duplication of effort; (5) the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has not complied with its monitoring and reporting policies; (6) BJA did not visit each state annually or document all state visits as required; and (7) confusing BJA guidance has contributed to incomplete and inconsistent state reporting.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Rather than try to visit each state annually, BJA has established criteria to determine which states need more attention. BJA also ensures that site visit reports are completed and placed in the files. An automated monitoring system has been established to ensure that reports are prepared after each visit. In addition, meetings with the states have been conducted to discuss and clarify administrative and reporting requirements. Program guidance and project reporting forms have been revised to clarify reporting requirements on the part of the states.

    Recommendation: The Director, BJA, should reassess the requirement for annual state visits and enforce the requirement for documenting the results of these visits.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice: Office of Justice Programs: Bureau of Justice Assistance


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