USDOJ Redeployment of HQ Agents to Field


Agency: Department of Justice

Title: Redeployment of Headquarters Agents to the Field

Background Information

An important NPR streamlining principle which the Justice Department has employed in its core law enforcement and service functions is the redeployment of agents and headquarters personnel from administrative or supervisory positions into the field, to support crucial front-line operations and law enforcement.


During the last several months, the Department's leadership has been dedicated to this type of streamlining through such efficient reallocations of human resources. In January 1994, FBI Director Louis J. Freeh announced the permanent reassignment of 600 FBI special agents then holding supervisory and administrative jobs to investigate priority criminal and national security cases.

In the first phase, 150 supervisory agents now at FBI Headquarters were temporarily detailed to investigative cases in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. The focus of the special effort is violent crime, drug trafficking, public corruption, and national security cases.

Phase Two will permanently reduce the Headquarters staff by transferring an initial 300 agents in supervisory and administrative posts to those of the 56 FBI field divisions nation-wide that most urgently need more investigations. (These 300 transfers are subject to the concurrence of OMB and notice to Congress, and required up to $24 million for relocation expenses from existing DOJ resources.)

In Phase Three, the 56 field divisions will adopt more efficient management practices in order to shift 300 of their agents from administrative and supervisory jobs to street level investigations.

In all, the FBI has 10,078 special agents--including 806 at Headquarters, or eight percent of the total. The transfer of 300 agents reduced the Headquarters agents by 37 percent.


The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has also increased its effectiveness in its core border patrol function by redeploying border patrol agents. In February, as part of the Administration's border control initiative to add 1,010 Border Patrol agents by the end of 1995, the INS redeployed 510 agents from desk work through automation and the redirection of existing resources. They will be added to 500 new agents to be hired and trained.

Through this initiative, in the first year, the new agents and resources will be targeted in San Diego, CA and El Paso, TX, where 65 percent of apprehensions occur. In 1994 alone, agent strength on the San Diego border will be increased by 40 percent.

In addition, new technologies and equipment will multiply the effectiveness of the new border agents. These include infrared scopes to monitor and track illegal entries and, in San Diego, the installation of five miles of lighting to expose aliens attempting night entries, the erection of secondary fencing to block entry onto highways, and fingerprinting all illegal crossers to determine recidivism.

In early June, the INS and the Attorney General announced an equally exciting innovation which represents the best NPR streamlining principles through the introduction of information technology to free up enforcement resources. The systems unveiled were the prototype Enforcement Tracking System (ENFORCE) and the Automated Fingerprinting Identification System (AFIS).

The first phase of ENFORCE will automate the processing of illegal aliens. The second phase will create an entire case tracking system that will link all INS enforcement and deportation functions.

Phase one of ENFORCE will cut time spent on alien-enforcement case processing paperwork by 60 percent. It will automate 40 forms and allow agents to spend much more time in the field stopping aliens from crossing--the equivalent of redeploying 48 agents to the line in the San Diego sector alone.

In earlier field tests of the automation in McAllen, TX, ENFORCE reduced the amount of time spent on paperwork processing illegal aliens without criminal records, from 20 minutes to 3-4 minutes in the case of Mexican nationals, and from 75 minutes to 15 minutes in the case of other aliens. These savings will allow agents to spend much more time in the field stopping aliens from crossing--the equivalent of adding 45 agents in the San Diego sector.

These innovations are crucial to an effective streamlining plan because under current practices, border patrol agents spend nearly half of their valuable enforcement time doing paperwork. ENFORCE automates the carbons, the extra forms, and the tedious manual typing that goes into the processing of aliens intercepted at the border.

The AFIS system holds great promise for using fingerprints to identify criminal aliens at the borders . It will enable border patrol agents to identify an alien from a fingerprint in 3-5 minutes and access criminal records, photographs, and other important information that may be on file.

Main NPR Category: Cutting Back to Basics

Related NPR Categories: Cutting Red Tape, Employee Empowerment

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