THE MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

The Joint Committee on
Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review


Report # 406

A Review of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics’ Staffing Actions

Executive Summary

Background

PEER sought to determine whether Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN) management complied with state law in allocating its personnel resources for program purposes, as outlined in its proposal for increased staffing and support requirements. This review focused on the period from February 1997 through January 2000. PEER sought to determine the impact of MBN’s reorganization and staff allocations during FYs 1998-00 on the bureau’s financial resources.

PEER expanded the scope of the review due to a concern about MBN issuing weapons to civilian employees for use during their job performance for the bureau.

MBN’s Implementation of a Multi-Year Proposal to Enhance Enforcement Capability

Although the Legislature appropriated funds to implement MBN’s FY 1998-2000 enforcement expansion proposal, MBN’s former Director Blaine did not use all of the additional resources to expand the bureau’s enforcement capacity.

MBN management sought and received resources to improve its drug enforcement capability in FY 1998 through FY 2000 by employing an additional 87 agents, thus creating a potential field agent workforce of 165 positions. However, MBN actually employed a net increase of only 26 field agents during this period, bringing the total number of field agents to 104.

MBN used a portion of the resources that the Legislature appropriated in FY 1998—2000 to fund personnel actions that were not a part of its 1996 proposal, thus decreasing the funds available for hiring new agents and implementing the enforcement expansion proposal. MBN’s former Director took management actions that led to an increasing personnel vacancy rate in civilian and sworn officer positions during FY 1998 through FY 2000. As a result, MBN did not achieve the projected performance level increases for initiated cases and arrests.

Also, despite the availability of a state general law enforcement training course at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officer Training Academy, MBN expended funds in fiscal years 1998 through 2000 to create and operate its own general law enforcement training program at a daily cost per student that is higher than that of the existing training academy.

State Liability for Civilian Employees Carrying Weapons in the Performance of Their MBN Job Duties

While reviewing MBN’s personnel management practices, PEER found that the bureau has issued weapons to employees who were not certified law enforcement officers. Further, one was not trained on the use of firearms. Although such practices are allowed by state law (MISS. CODE ANN. Section 41-29-159 [1972]), this provision was enacted prior to Mississippi’s abrogation of the doctrine of sovereign immunity. This practice now exposes the state to potential liability for any injuries these employees might cause in the course and scope of their employment.

Recommendations

Legislative Recommendations

  1. The Mississippi Legislature should amend MISS. CODE ANN. Section 41-29-159 (1972) to prohibit MBN from issuing weapons to any civilian employee except the contract special agents or investigators, as defined in MISS. CODE ANN. Section 41-29-112 (1972).

Administrative Recommendations

  1. By September 1, 2001, MBN should conduct a documented, objective needs analysis to determine its actual personnel resource requirements for each employee category in this report. The results of the needs analysis should be used to reassess the number of personnel positions considered for authorization in the FY 2003 MBN Appropriation Bill.

    MBN should perform this formal needs analysis using, at least, the following evaluation criteria:

  2. population;

  3. demographic trends and changes;

  4. geographic trends and changes;

  5. drug usage patterns;

  6. complaints from law enforcement and citizens;

  7. agent productivity in number and quality of cases;

  8. judicial district characteristics; and,

  9. other existing drug enforcement operations in the state.

  10. MBN should develop a comprehensive, coordinated personnel recruitment and selection plan in conjunction with the State Personnel Board that clearly defines the sequential tasks, responsible individual(s), completion dates, and periodic management evaluations of plan status.

  11. MBN, in conjunction with the State Personnel Board, should revise the minimum employee qualifications for all bureau position descriptions that require a sworn officer. These qualifications should clearly state the need to be a currently certified state law enforcement officer at the time of employment and require that a copy of the current state law enforcement officer certificate be attached to the job application. The only exception would be new bureau agents who are not coming from another law enforcement agency.

  12. Due to the cost of conducting its own general law enforcement officer training, the bureau should:

  13. send its new agents to the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officer Training Academy for their general law enforcement training for state certification in order to minimize the state’s training cost.

  14. limit its training academy for newly hired agents to specialized training in drug enforcement duties and responsibilities.

  15. If MBN continues to operate its general law enforcement officer training academy in FY 2001, the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration should require the bureau to establish a separate cost center that collects and accounts for all cost components.

    DFA should conduct a cost study to determine if MBN can provide the general law enforcement officer training at a lower daily per student cost than the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officer Training Academy. The results of this study should be provided to MBN and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee prior to September 15, 2001.

  16. MBN should develop and implement improved performance measurement standards that would provide a better means of evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of its law enforcement operations and support activities. These new standards should go beyond the basic law enforcement statistics of initiated cases, arrests, training events, or drug education events.

    MBN should measure program outputs and outcomes relative to state, regional, or national established performance goals. Some possible standards for measuring this performance are the:

  17. number of closed cases as a percentage of initiated cases categorized by grand jury indictment, unfounded (innocent suspect), and death of suspect. These cases should be measured by class of drugs, crime classifications, and type of suspects (major supplier, major dealer, street dealer, and street distributor);

  18. increases in the number and percentage of grand jury presentments resulting in No and True Bills for the type of arrested suspects;

  19. number of convictions as a percentage of arrests by the type of suspects and crime classifications;

  20. value of drug seizures and forfeited personal property by class of drug, type of property, percentage of MBN retained dollars versus MBN returned dollars, and type of suspect; and,

  21. number of surveillance hours per dollar value of drug seizures and forfeited personal property by class of drug, type of property, percentage of MBN retained dollars versus MBN returned dollars, and type of suspect.

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