An Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit has found that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) component collaboration on law enforcement virtual training simulators is limited.
OIG said components are not always aware of other DHS components’ research, purchases, capabilities, or availability of law enforcement virtual training simulators.
DHS’ September 2018 use of force policy requires that the Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans, working in consultation with DHS components employing law enforcement officers and agents (LEOs), establish a DHS Use of Force Council to provide a forum by which components can share lessons learned regarding use of force policies, training, and oversight.
But OIG found that DHS has experienced delays and challenges implementing initiatives that may lead to better collaboration and leveraging of resources across the Department. In September 2021, DHS established the Law Enforcement Coordination Council, which coordinates department-wide law enforcement related matters on training and policy. However, this and other initiatives did not always include all relevant offices and components, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Without additional coordination on virtual training activities, OIG says DHS faces challenges training LEOs and may limit potential cost savings.
Additionally, the audit found that the United States Secret Service does not have a system to track use of force incidents. According to DHS’ use of force policy, “DHS components employing LEOs shall establish internal processes to collect and report accurate data on component use of force activities.” Without a system to track use of force incidents, OIG says Secret Service is unable to efficiently assess use of force activities, conduct meaningful trend analysis, or take appropriate corrective actions, such as providing additional training.
Among other recommendations, OIG called for DHS law enforcement working groups, councils, or similar coordination bodies to include assessments of the use of virtual training simulators to include research, purchases, usage, best practices, and opportunities to leverage existing resources.