Federal Fugitives: More Timely Entry on National Wanted Person File Is Needed - GAO Report
|Date:||Feb. 26, 1996|
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Law enforcement information systems
FBI Inspection Program
FBI National Wanted Persons Data Base
As a result of earlier work on interagency coordination in apprehending federal fugitives, GAO noted that many entries in the FBI's National Crime Information Center's (NCIC) wanted person file had been made long after arrest warrants had been issued. This was contrary to the policies of the agencies that had made the entries and the widespread view that the timely use of the file aids in the apprehension of fugitives and reduces the risk to law enforcement personnel and the public. GAO did a follow-up review of the entries made in the wanted person file and found that the FBI; the United States Marshals Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF); and the Customs Service had entered many fugitives in the file long after their arrests had been authorized. In response to GAO's finding, the FBI, ATF, and the Customs Service did their own reviews and discovered similar entry time problems. GAO concludes that NCIC and its participating agencies need clear, written policies that call for and define "immediate entry" and set forth any exceptions. Moreover, agencies should periodically monitor entry times and reasons for delays and communicate problems and suggest actions to their field offices. Although GAO did not review entry times for all law enforcement agencies in the Justice and Treasury Departments, GAO believes that the same reasons for timely entry generally would apply to these agencies.