The U.S. Marshals Service’s internal disciplinary unit is understaffed and overburdened, leading to long delays in misconduct investigations, according to a new report by the Justice Department’s Inspector General.
From fiscal 2004 to fiscal 2009, the Marshals Service (USMS) failed to meet its 90-day standard for completing investigations more than half the time, according to the report, which was published on Thursday. Of the roughly 500 investigations that wore on for more than 90 days, about 10 percent took more than nine months to close.
Compared with other disciplinary units within the department, USMS’s Office of Internal Investigations is “is under-resourced, has lower-graded investigator positions and lacks adequate administrative and analytic support,” the report said. As a result, investigators in the office carry caseloads three to five times larger than those of their counterparts in the other units. (See chart below.)
The report noted that U.S. Marshals showed a “general lack of interest” in applying for the investigator positions due to the low grade level, limited opportunities for advancement, the nature of the work and the high cost of living in Washington, D.C.
In January, USMS upgraded five of the 10 Office of Inspection investigator positions from GS-13 to GS-14 — a good first step, the report said. But the Inspector General’s office said the internal investigations unit needed to recruit aggressively and develop a strategic plan to garner more resources.
In his response to the report, USMS Director John Clark said that 10 Chief Deputy U.S. Marshals were being trained as auxiliary investigators as a short-term fix, and the service would conduct “a careful analysis” of the investigations office to create a long-term plan.
Click here for the full report.