OFFICE OF THE LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR
STATE OF MINNESOTA Financial Audit
Department of Public Safety Criminal Gang Strike Force Grants
July 1, 1998, through June 30, 2001

MAY 16, 2002 02-30

Financial Audit Division The Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) is a professional, nonpartisan office in the legislative branch of Minnesota State government. Its principal responsibility is to audit and evaluate the agencies and programs of state government (the State Auditor audits local governments). OLA's Financial Audit Division annually audits the state's financial statements and, on a rotating schedule, audits agencies in the executive and judicial branches of state government, three metropolitan agencies, and several "semi-state" organizations. The division also investigates allegations that state resources have been used inappropriately. The division has a staff of approximately fifty auditors, most of whom are CPAs. The division conducts audits in accordance with standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Comptroller General of the United States.

Consistent with OLA's mission, the Financial Audit Division works to: Promote Accountability, Strengthen Legislative Oversight, and Support Good Financial Management. Through its Program Evaluation Division, OLA conducts several evaluations each year and one best practices review.

OLA is under the direction of the Legislative Auditor, who is appointed for a six-year term by the Legislative Audit Commission (LAC). The LAC is a bipartisan commission of Representatives and Senators. It annually selects topics for the Program Evaluation Division, but is generally not involved in scheduling financial audits.

All findings, conclusions, and recommendations in reports issued by the Office of the Legislative Auditor are solely the responsibility of the office and may not reflect the views of the LAC, its individual members, or other members of the Minnesota Legislature.

This document can be made available in alternative formats, such as large print, Braille, or audio tape, by calling 651-296-1727 (voice), or the Minnesota Relay Service at 651-297-5353 or 1-800-627-3529. All OLA reports are available at our Web Site: http://www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us

If you have comments about our work, or you want to suggest an audit, investigation, evaluation, or best practices review, please contact us at 651-296-4708 or by e-mail legislative.auditor@state.mn.us

OFFICE OF THE LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR State of Minnesota James Nobles, Legislative Auditor Senator Ann H. Rest, Chair Legislative Audit Commission Members of the Legislative Audit Commission Charlie Weaver, Commissioner Department of Public Safety

We have audited the Department of Public Safety's administration of grants for the Criminal Gang Strike Force for the period July 1, 1998, through June 30, 2001. We highlight the audit objectives and conclusions in the individual chapters of this report. We conducted our audit in accordance with Government Auditing Standards, as issued by the Comptroller General of the United States. Those standards require that we obtain an understanding of management controls relevant to the audit. The standards require that we design the audit to provide reasonable assurance that the Department of Public Safety complied with provisions of laws, regulations, and grants that are significant to the audit. The management of the Department of Public Safety is responsible for establishing and maintaining the internal control structure and complying with applicable laws, regulations, and grants. This report is intended for the information of the Legislative Audit Commission and the management of the Department of Public Safety. This restriction is not intended to limit the distribution of this report, which was released as a public document on May 16, 2002. /s/ James R. Nobles /s/ Claudia J. Gudvangen James R. Nobles Claudia J. Gudvangen, CPA Legislative Auditor Deputy Legislative Auditor

End of Fieldwork: April 15, 2002 Report Signed On: May 13, 2002

Room 140, 658 Cedar Street, St. Paul, Minnesota 55155-1603 Tel: 651/ 296-4708 Fax: 651/ 296-4712 E-mail:auditor@state.mn.us TDD Relay: 651/ 297-5353 Website: www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us

Table of Contents
Report Summary
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Grants
Status of Prior Audit Issues

Audit Participation The following members of the Office of the Legislative Auditor prepared this report: Claudia Gudvangen, CPA Deputy Legislative Auditor Cecile Ferkul, CPA, CISA Audit Manager Susan Mady Auditor-in-Charge

Exit Conference We discussed the results of the audit with the following staff of the Department of Public Safety at an exit conference on May 9, 2002:

Charlie Weaver Commissioner Sara Schlauderaff Assistant Commissioner Frank Ahrens Director, Fiscal & Administrative Services Mary Ellison Director, Drug Policy & Violence Prevention Jeri Boisvert Planning Director, Drug Policy & Violence Prevention Daniel Boytim Accounting Supervisor Steve Johnson Divisional Accounting Officer

Report Summary Overall Conclusion: The Department of Public Safety and the Minnesota Criminal Gang Oversight Council properly authorized and accurately recorded grants in compliance with material finance-related legal provisions, and ensured that grantee reimbursement requests complied with grant provisions.

Agency Background: In 1997, the Legislature created the Minnesota Criminal Gang Oversight Council and the Criminal Gang Strike Force to deal with the increasing violence inflicted on the citizens of Minnesota by gang crimes. The Minnesota Criminal Gang Oversight Council is an advisory council, which oversees the Criminal Gang Strike Force. The Criminal Gang Strike Force is a multi-governmental, anti-gang initiative with statewide jurisdiction to conduct criminal investigations. The mission of the Criminal Gang Strike Force is to identify, investigate, arrest, and prosecute gang members engaged in criminal activity in Minnesota. Funding for the Minnesota Criminal Gang Oversight Council and the Criminal Gang Strike Force was provided by a General Fund appropriation to the Department of Public Safety.

Financial Audit Reports address internal control weaknesses and noncompliance issues found during our audits of state departments and agencies. The scope of our audit work at the Department of Public Safety for the Criminal Gang Strike Force covered appropriations for the period from July 1, 1998, through June 30, 2001.

Chapter 1. Introduction In 1997, the Legislature created the Minnesota Criminal Gang Oversight Council and the Criminal Gang Strike Force to deal with the increasing violence inflicted on the citizens of Minnesota by gang crimes. The Minnesota Criminal Gang Oversight Council is an advisory council, which oversees the Criminal Gang Strike Force. Funding for the Minnesota Criminal Gang Oversight Council and the Criminal Gang Strike Force was provided by a General Fund appropriation to the Department of Public Safety.

The statutes identify the following individuals, or their designees, as members of the Minnesota Criminal Gang Oversight Council: Commissioner of Public Safety Commissioner of Corrections Superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Minnesota Attorney General Minneapolis Police Chief St. Paul Police Chief St. Cloud Police Chief Duluth Police Chief Hennepin County Sheriff Ramsey County Sheriff St. Louis County Sheriff Olmsted County Sheriff Representative of the Minnesota Sheriff's Association (Metro) Representative of the Minnesota Sheriff's Association (Outstate) Representative of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association The Criminal Gang Strike Force is a multi-governmental, anti-gang initiative with statewide jurisdiction to conduct criminal investigations.

The Department of Public Safety enters into joint powers agreements with the local law enforcement agencies. The mission of the Criminal Gang Strike Force is to identify, investigate, arrest, and prosecute gang members engaged in criminal activity in Minnesota. Its primary goals are to: target for prosecution of individuals most criminally active within a gang or who hold leadership positions; coordinate proactive, long-term investigations on targeted gang members; react promptly to requests for assistance from other law enforcement agencies; provide peace officers and prosecutors with training on tactics and techniques for investigating and prosecuting gang crime; and obtain information regarding gang membership and related criminal activity and share that information with other law enforcement agencies. The Criminal Gang Strike Force consists of about 50 investigators working throughout the state who concentrate on fighting gang-related crime. Local law enforcement agencies assign officers to serve on the Criminal Gang Strike Force and to report directly to its Statewide Commander. The officers are employed and paid by their home police or sheriff departments, who then receive reimbursement grants from the Department of Public Safety.

The Department of Public Safety also awarded grants to local law enforcement agencies and city or county attorneys' offices to expand their capacity to successfully investigate and prosecute crimes committed by criminal gangs. Some federal agencies have also assigned staff to work with the Criminal Gang Strike Force. The Criminal Gang Strike Force is organized into five regions, each headed by a Regional Commander, who reports to the Statewide Commander, Ron Ryan. The Metro region is the largest and employs about 35 people. Following are the regions and the participating local and federal law enforcement agencies:

1. Northeast -Duluth Police Department, St. Louis County Sheriff, and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension 2. Southeast -Rochester Police Department, Olmsted and Goodhue County Sheriff Departments, and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension 3. Central -St. Cloud Police Department and Benton, Sherburne, and Stearns County Sheriff Departments 4. Southwest -Marshall, Worthington, and Mankato Police Departments 5. Metro -Minneapolis and St. Paul Police Departments; Ramsey, Anoka, Dakota, Washington, and Hennepin County Sheriff Departments; the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension; Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Federal Drug Enforcement Agency; Federal Bureau of Investigations; and the Internal Revenue Service The Minnesota Criminal Gang Oversight Council submits an annual report to the Legislature about the successes, accomplishments, and future goals of the Criminal Gang Strike Force.

Table 1-1 summarizes the sources and uses of funds for the Minnesota Criminal Gang Oversight Council and the Criminal Gang Strike Force for fiscal years 1999 through 2001.

Table 1-1 Criminal Gang Strike Force Sources and Uses of Funds Fiscal Years 1999, 2000, 2001

1999 2000 2001 Sources: Appropriations -Grants $2,820,000 $1,171,000 $2,412,000 Appropriations -Administration 0 357,000 335,000 Balance Forward In 339,275 0 132,591 Total Sources $3,159.275 $1,528,000 $2,879,591

Uses: Grants $2,468,147 $1,075,455 $2,290,364 Payroll 159,101 172,081 163,857 Rent 92,767 95,545 137,161 Equipment 31,049 1,455 19,679 Insurance 87,840 43,884 73,538 Supplies 9, 996 1,163 8,439 Travel 9,567 3,977 40 Other 1,782 1,849 5,370 Total Expenditures $2,860,249 $1,395,409 $2,698,447 Balance Forward Out 0 132,591 0 Cancellations 299,026 0 181,143 Total Uses $3,159,275 $1,528,000 $2,879,591

Source: Minnesota Accounting and Procurement System.

Chapter 2. Grants Chapter Conclusions The Department of Public Safety and the Minnesota Criminal Gang Oversight Council properly authorized and accurately recorded grants in compliance with material finance-related legal provisions, and ensured that grantee reimbursement requests complied with grant provisions.

The Department of Public Safety processed grant expenditures through the state's accounting system to local law enforcement agencies. The Minnesota Criminal Gang Oversight Council authorized the grant awards. They reviewed applications to ensure that the local unit planned to use the funds appropriately, and that the grant would aid in the apprehension of criminal gang members or in the deterrence of gang violence. For fiscal years 1999 through 2001, grant payments to cities and counties totaled about $6.2 million.

One program available to law enforcement agencies was the Officer Replacement grant. This grant reimbursed local law enforcement agencies for the cost associated with hiring an officer to replace an officer assigned to the Criminal Gang Strike Force. During fiscal years 1998 and 1999, a participating agency was reimbursed 75 percent of the salary and benefits of an officer assigned to the Criminal Gang Strike Force. When the legislature reduced the appropriations for fiscal years 2000 and 2001, the Minnesota Criminal Gang Oversight Council set the maximum reimbursement at $50,000 per officer. A second grant program was the Expand Local Capacity to Combat Gangs grant. This grant provided funding to local law enforcement agencies and city or county attorneys' offices to expand their capacity to successfully investigate and prosecute crimes committed by criminal gangs. This grant aided the local agency or attorney's office in making full use of experienced gang specialists and promoted ongoing multi-jurisdictional efforts. The requesting agency or office submitted a detailed plan to the Minnesota Criminal Gang Oversight Council and the commissioner of Public Safety describing the proposed uses for the funds. The council evaluated the grant application to determine if the plan ensured a positive result. The council either approved or denied the applicant's request. The Department of Public Safety paid out grant funds in accordance with the Minnesota Criminal Gang Oversight Council's authorization.

Audit Objectives and Methodology We focused on the following objectives during our audit of the Department of Public Safety's administration of grants for the Criminal Gang Strike Force:

Did the Department of Public Safety and the Minnesota Criminal Gang Oversight Council properly authorize and accurately record grants in compliance with material finance-related legal provisions? Did the Department of Public Safety monitor that the grantee's reimbursement requests complied with grant provisions?

To meet these objectives, we interviewed personnel from the Department of Public Safety to gain an understanding of the grant process and the reimbursement procedures for local law enforcement agencies involved in the Criminal Gang Strike Force. We examined the authorization and approval of the joint powers and grant agreements between the Department of Public Safety and the local law enforcement agencies. We analyzed expense reimbursement requests for compliance with grant provisions. We tested a sample of grant expenditures to determine if they were reasonable, properly supported, and accurately recorded in the states accounting system.

Conclusion The Department of Public Safety and the Minnesota Criminal Gang Oversight Council properly authorized and accurately recorded grants in compliance with material finance-related legal provisions, and ensured that grantee reimbursement requests complied with grant provisions. Status of Prior Audit Issues As of April 15, 2002 Most Recent Audit Legislative Audit Report 99-44, issued in August 1999, focused on selected operations of the Department of Public Safety, including the Criminal Gang Strike Force. The report contained two recommendations to improve the operations of the Criminal Gang Strike Force. The first recommendation addressed the lack of a conflict of interest policy. The Criminal Gang Strike Force implemented a conflict of interest policy during fiscal year 2000. The second issue addressed the lack of timely submission of reimbursement requests from the local units. The Department of Public Safety implemented procedures during fiscal year 2001 to insure that local fiscal agents submitted reimbursement requests in compliance with timelines established in the grant agreements.

 

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