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Missing Children: DOJ Could Enhance Oversight To Help Ensure That Law Enforcement Agencies Report Cases in a Timely Manner

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2011
35 pages
This study by the U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) examined the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ's) Criminal Justice Information Services' (CJIS's) as well as the CJIS Advisory Policy Board's (the Board) efforts to implement and monitor law enforcement agencies' (LEAs') compliance with the National Child Search Assistance Act as amended, which requires that within 2 hours of receiving a missing child report, LEAs must enter the report into the DOJ's National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
The NCIC is a clearinghouse of information instantly available to LEAs nationwide, the CJIS and the Board, along with State criminal justice agencies, share responsibility for overseeing this requirement. The GAO audit, which was conducted from January 2010 to June 2011, reviewed the efforts of six State criminal justice agencies, known as CJIS Systems Agencies (CSAs), to ensure the timely entry of information on missing children into NCIC. The audit found that CSAs did not consistently and reliably audit LEAs compliance with the 2-hour entry requirement. The GAO recommends that the CJIS and the Board consider establishing minimum audit standards for assessing compliance with the entry requirement. Such minimum standards would better position CSAs to design audits of LEAs so as to obtain more consistent and reliable information on LEA compliance with the requirement. Such standards could also help CJIS to better accomplish its oversight and compliance objectives regarding the prompt entry of missing children reports into the NCIC. The GAO's audit methodology is described. 3 figures and appended agency comments on the audit