Document Name: Law Enforcement (6 of 23)
Date: 09/01/94
Owner: National Performance Review
Title: Standards for Our Customers: Law Enforcement (6 of 23)

Author: Vice President Al Gore's National Performance Review

Date: September, 1994


CUSTOMER GROUP: Law Enforcement


Protecting the public is one of the most fundamental and important

jobs of government. Many federal agencies directly enforce laws, but

they also help state and local law enforce-ment agencies in their

efforts. State and local law enforcement agencies are the front line

for combating crime on the street. These law enforcement agencies, in

turn, are the customers for many federal law enforcement


Consider, for example, the Community Relations Service of the

Department of Justice, which helps communities reduce ethnic tension

and prevent racial conflict. When Senior Conciliation Specialist

Vermont McKinney saw the videotape of the Rodney King beating, he

called the Los Angeles Police Department and community leaders and

offered his help.

McKinney spent the next few weeks opening the lines of communication

among the key players. He and Regional Director Julian Klugman later

convened a three-day summit with 40 community leaders and 40 law

enforcement agents. Los Angeles Police Chief Willie L. Williams says

that as bad as the riots were, they would have been a lot worse

without Justice's help.

The Community Relations Service was especially helpful, Williams

adds, in bringing together police and local gang leaders to negotiate

a truce. "The truce and other efforts have reduced street-related

gang killings and violence significantly," says Williams. "At the

time, clearly this was not a very popular event among police

officers. . . . We couldn't have done it without the Justice

Department. . . . There are still a lot of problems with gangs in Los

Angeles, but we've cut down on the violence, and now we can work on

other issues."

Davis L. Rodgers, Sr., President of the Watts Branch of the NAACP,

notes that Justice did a good job at working at the grass-roots

community level. "They were continually asking if we thought there

was going to be more trouble and asked what could be done to prevent

it," he says. "They listened to everything we had to say."

In the words of Eleanor R. Montano, President of Mothers and Men

Against Gangs, who has been working for decades to prevent violence:

"Sometimes you just need an outside party to help. Someone who is

seen as objective, that people will listen to."

State and Local Support


Many other Department of Justice agencies also have customers at the

state and local level. Justice manages about $1 billion in annual

funding that goes to state and local organizations. Under the

provisions of the recently enacted crime bill, Congress authorized

over $30 billion for law enforcement efforts mostly at the state and

local level. The money is to be paid from a special fund in fiscal

years 1995 through 2000.

Justice also provides assistance in day-to-day police work. For

example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Crime

Information Center, a computerized information system that has data

on wanted persons and stolen property, provides information for more

than 74,000 federal, state, and local police officers in all 50

states. The FBI also analyzes fingerprints. Police departments

nationwide depend on these services; each day the FBI receives

100,000 electronic requests for information, 35,000 fingerprint card

requests, and 14,000 written updates to criminal history files.

In focus groups conducted by Justice, state and local law enforcement

officials asked for better coordination and faster response to

requests for information on suspects. Right now, the FBI can't

respond to requests as fast as its customers want. But the bureau is

telling customers what they can expect. Current response time for

name searches against criminal histories is five seconds. Fingerprint

identification takes about 21 days. A new FBI rapid response system,

which is scheduled to be on-line by early 1997, will receive and

process electronic fingerprint images, criminal histories, and

related data within the response times local agencies need. The FBI

also interviewed 485 criminal justice administrators and sent

questionnaires to 2,670 criminal justice agencies nationwide to get

feedback on how to improve its database system; it plans to have

improvements in place by 1996.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms runs the National Tracing

Center, which tracks information about firearms used in crimes. The

center handled more than 50,000 requests in fiscal year 1993 and

expects over 70,000 for fiscal year 1994. The center helps law

enforcement agencies by developing leads on suspicious characters who

may be involved in firearms trafficking. The center is researching

new computer software that will provide information more quickly. The

bureau's customer service standards call for completing urgent

firearms traces within 24 hours and routine traces within four weeks.


Highlights from Customer Service Standards:

FBI's National Crime Information Center

FBI expects to provide better service in 1996 when its new NCIC

system is available. Current and future customer service standards

for NCIC are:

--- Customers will be able to access the system 24 hours a day, 7

days a week (currently available).

--- The system will process NCIC inquiries in one second or less.

Current NCIC processing is two seconds.

--- Users will be able to conduct on-line queries for information

that is now available only through special computer programming.

--- Users will be able to receive photograph and fingerprint images

on-line in police cruisers (currently not available).


Direct Enforcement


Besides supporting state and local authorities, federal agencies

directly enforce a wide range of statutes. The FBI combats organized

crime, narcotics, terrorism, white-collar crime, foreign

counterintelligence, and violent crime. The Drug Enforcement

Administration handles international and major narcotics cases. Other

agencies have law enforcement components -- for example, the Internal

Revenue Service for tax evasion, the Customs Service for smuggling,

the Secret Service for counterfeiting, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco

and Firearms for guns, and the Department of Health and Human

Services for Medicare fraud. In addition, the Justice Department has

an extensive network of prosecuting attorneys in Washington, D.C.,

and throughout the country with a U.S. Attorney in every judicial

district. And Justice manages federal prisons throughout the nation.

Customer service is a complicated concept for these direct law

enforcement activites. Federal law enforcement agencies bring

criminals to justice, save the taxpayers billions of dollars, and

work to prevent crime. In these roles, they see the general public as

their primary customer. The contributions they make are clear. Health

care fraud, for example, is costing taxpayers about $10 billion a

year, according to the 1992 U.S. General Accounting Office study

Health Insurance: Vulnerable Payers Lose Billions to Fraud and Abuse

(HRD-92-96). Not only are unscrupulous people charging bogus fees,

they are using substandard medical equipment in delicate medical

procedures. The Justice Department and the Inspector General of

Health and Human Services are aggressively pursuing these cases. In

one case, a well-known laboratory purposely induced doctors to order

unnecessary lab work. The company president was convicted of fraud,

and the company paid the government $110 million for restitution.

But the job is more than simply chasing crooks. Justice has received

feedback on the need for more assistance for victims and witnesses.

Obviously, the victims are a special subset of the general public

that these organizations exist to serve. Witnesses are essential to

bring criminals to justice. Both victims and witnesses are customers

-- and they have a right to protection and other assistance.

The U.S. Marshals Service runs the Federal Witness Security Program,

which protects witnesses before, during, and after trials. In very

serious cases, a witness and his or her family can be given a new

identity, home, and job, but this kind of dramatic action is rare.


Highlights from Customer Service Standards:

U.S. Attorneys' Offices

If you are a victim or a witness --

--- To the extent possible, a separate waiting area will be provided

for you separate from the offender and defense witnesses during court


--- Emotional support and assistance will be provided to you during

court appearances.

--- Upon your request, you will be assisted in talking with your

employer if your cooperation in the investigation or prosecution of

the crime causes you to be absent from work; likewise, if the crime

prohibits your ability to make timely payments to creditors,

assistance will be provided to you in dealing with those creditors.

--- You will routinely be provided with information or assistance

concerning transportation, parking, lodging, translator, and related


--- When needed, you will be provided referrals to existing agencies

for shelter, counseling, compensation, and other types of assistance.


The U.S. Attorneys throughout the nation have established a Victim-

Witness Assistance Program. Justice has published an extensive

handbook to educate victims and witnesses, and each U.S. Attorney has

a Victim-Witness Coordinator who answers questions, provides

emotional support, sees to special needs, and advises of changes in

offender status. The Justice Department is currently reviewing

customer service standards in this area and expects to have them

published by December 1994.

Applying customer service principles to its direct enforcement work

is the challenge that faces Justice and agencies like it. For her

part, Attorney General Janet Reno has committed to expanding law

enforcement customer service standards in investigations as well as

in other areas over the next year.


Your Standards


These agencies and offices are publishing customer service standards

for law enforcement. The standards appear in the "Law Enforcement"

section of Appendix B.

Department of Justice

Community Relations Service

Federal Bureau of Investigation

U.S. Attorneys' Offices

Department of the Treasury

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

Federal Law Enforcement Training Center

U.S. Secret Service

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