The growth of federal law enforcement has been evolutionary. In 1789, theU.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Customs Service, and the Treasury Policewere created. Since then, additional law enforcement agencies have beenestablished in response to new laws and expanding jurisdictions forfederal officers. For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation wascreated in 1908 to be the investigative force of the Department of Justice.The Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigators were established in1919 in the Bureau of Internal Revenue. More recently, in the 1970s, theBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the Drug EnforcementAdministration; and the criminal investigators of the Offices of theInspectors General were added.1Federal Law Enforcement: Information on Certain Agencies’ Criminal Investigative Personnel andSalary Costs(GAO/T-GGD-96-38, Nov. 15, 1995).GAO/GGD-96-154 Investigative Authority and PersonnelPage 1
B-272478In our November 15, 1995, testimony, we identified the following agencydata (as of March 31, 1995):•32 federal agencies had personnel who were eligible for special lawenforcement pay and/or retirement benefits and were employed in 9occupational series that involved investigative work;•about 41,000 federal employees were in those agencies and in the 9occupational series; and•annual salary costs amounted to about $2.2 billion for those employees.Results in BriefThrough an analysis of data maintained by the U.S. Office of PersonnelManagement (OPM) in its Central Personnel Data File (CPDF) and a surveyof the agencies with the largest numbers of law enforcement investigativepersonnel, we determined the following.•Ten agencies employed over 90 percent of the law enforcementinvestigative personnel identified in our November 1995 testimony. Anadditional 3 agencies were found to have 700 or more law enforcementinvestigative personnel.•The 13 agencies investigate a variety of criminal violations, ranging fromorganized crime and income tax violations to illegal immigration andpassport and visa fraud. The agencies derive their authority primarily fromstatutory provisions reflected in the U.S. Code.•The agencies reported, as of the end of fiscal year 1995, that theyemployed about 42,800 law enforcement investigative personnel. Most ofthese personnel could execute search warrants, make arrests, and/or carryfirearms, if necessary.•Between the end of fiscal years 1987 and 1995, the number of lawenforcement investigative personnel at these agencies increased about19 percent, overall.•The change in the number of law enforcement investigative personnelranged from a growth of about 66 percent at the Immigration andNaturalization Service to a decline of about 14 percent at the Departmentof the Navy’s Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

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