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Military Personnel: Financial Cost and Loss of Critical Skills Due to DOD's Homosexual Conduct Policy Cannot Be Completely Estimated

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "From the passage of the homosexual conduct policy statute, in fiscal year 1994, through fiscal year 2003 the military services separated about 9,500 servicemembers for homosexual conduct. This represents about 0.40 percent of the 2.37 million members separated for all reasons during this period. Questions have been raised about the costs of separating servicemembers for homosexual conduct. Also, in the post-September 11th environment, there has been concern about the separation of servicemembers with critical occupations or important foreign language skills in, for example, Arabic. GAO was asked to determine (1) the military services' annual financial costs from fiscal year 1994 through fiscal year 2003 for certain activities associated with administering the Department of Defense's (DOD) policy on homosexual conduct--e.g., the recruitment and training of servicemembers to replace those separated under the homosexual conduct statute--and (2) the extent to which the policy has resulted in the separation of servicemembers with critical occupations and important foreign language skills. GAO provided DOD with a draft of this report for comment, and DOD provided additional information on separations for homosexual conduct compared with other unprogrammed separations."
Date: February 23, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Securities Markets: Decimal Pricing has Contributed to Lower Trading Costs and a More Challenging Trading Environment

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In early 2001, U.S. stock and option markets began quoting prices in decimal increments rather than fractions of a dollar. At the same time, the minimum price increment, or tick size, was reduced to a penny on the stock markets and to 10 cents and 5 cents on the option markets. Although many believe that decimal pricing has benefited small individual (retail) investors, concerns have been raised that the smaller tick sizes have made trading more challenging and costly for large institutional investors, including mutual funds and pension plans. In addition, there is concern that the financial livelihood of market intermediaries, such as the broker-dealers that trade on floor-based and electronic markets, has been negatively affected by the lower ticks, potentially altering the roles these firms play in the U.S. capital market. GAO assessed the effect of decimal pricing on retail and institutional investors and on market intermediaries."
Date: May 31, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Education and Outreach Programs Target Safety and Consumer Issues, but Gaps in Planning and Evaluation Remain

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for improving commercial vehicle safety and uses education and outreach as part of its efforts. The House report accompanying the fiscal year 2005 Department of Transportation (DOT) appropriations bill asked GAO to report on FMCSA's education and outreach programs to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations. GAO (1) describes FMCSA's education and outreach programs and how they relate to FMCSA's goals (2) identifies the extent to which FMCSA has evaluated its education and outreach programs and (3) describes the extent to which FMCSA's education and outreach programs are effective."
Date: December 19, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Medicaid Drug Rebate Program: Inadequate Oversight Raises Concerns about Rebates Paid to States

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "To help control Medicaid spending on drugs, states receive rebates from pharmaceutical manufacturers through the Medicaid drug rebate program. Rebates are based on two prices--best price and average manufacturer price (AMP)--reported by manufacturers. Both reflect manufacturers' prices to various entities, accounting for certain financial concessions like discounts. Concerns have been raised about rising Medicaid drug spending. GAO studied (1) federal oversight of manufacturer-reported best prices and AMPs and the methods used to determine them, (2) how manufacturers' determinations of those prices could have affected rebates, and (3) how the rebate program reflects financial concessions in the private market."
Date: February 4, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Vocational Rehabilitation: More VA and DOD Collaboration Needed to Expedite Services for Seriously Injured Servicemembers

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "More than 10,000 U.S. military servicemembers, including National Guard and Reserve members, have been injured in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those with serious injuries are likely to be discharged from the military and return to civilian life with disabilities. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers vocational rehabilitation and employment (VR&E) services to help these injured servicemembers in their transition to civilian employment. GAO has noted that early intervention--the provision of rehabilitation services as soon as possible after the onset of a disability--is a practice that significantly facilitates the return to work. GAO examined how VA expedites VR&E services to seriously injured servicemembers and the challenges VA faces in its efforts to do so."
Date: January 14, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Crop Insurance: Actions Needed to Reduce Program's Vulnerability to Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Federal crop insurance protects producers against losses from natural disasters. In 2004, the crop insurance program provided $47 billion in coverage, at a cost of $3.6 billion, including an estimated $160 million in losses from fraud and abuse. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) administers this program with private insurers. The Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000 (ARPA) provided new tools to monitor and control abuses, such as having USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) conduct field inspections. GAO assessed, among other things, the (1) effectiveness of USDA's processes to address program fraud and abuse and (2) extent to which the program's design makes it vulnerable to abuse."
Date: September 30, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Major Weapon Programs

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Defense (DOD) is embarking on a number of efforts to enhance warfighting and the way the department conducts business. Major investments are being made to develop improved weapon systems to combat various threats to U.S. security. While the weapons that DOD ultimately develops have no rival in superiority, weapon systems acquisition remains a long-standing high-risk area. GAO's reviews over the past 30 years have found consistent problems with weapon acquisitions such as cost increases, schedule delays, and performance shortfalls. In addition, DOD faces several budgetary challenges that underscore the need to deliver its new major weapon programs within estimated costs and to obtain the most from those investments. DOD can help resolve these problems by using a more knowledge-based approach for developing new weapons. This report provides congressional and DOD decision makers with an independent, knowledge-based assessment of selected defense programs that identifies potential risks and needed actions when a program's projected attainment of knowledge diverges from the best practice. It can also highlight those programs that employ practices worthy of emulation by other programs. GAO plans to update and issue this report annually."
Date: March 31, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Physician Services: Concierge Care Characteristics and Considerations for Medicare

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Concierge care is an approach to medical practice in which physicians charge their patients a membership fee in return for enhanced services or amenities. The recent emergence of concierge care has prompted federal concern about how the approach might affect beneficiaries of Medicare, the federal health insurance program for the aged and some disabled individuals. Concerns include the potential that membership fees may constitute additional charges for services that Medicare already pays physicians for and that concierge care may affect Medicare beneficiaries' access to physician services. The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 directed GAO to study concierge care and its relationship to Medicare. Using a variety of methods, including a nationwide literature search and telephone interviews, GAO identified 146 concierge physicians and surveyed concierge physicians in fall 2004. GAO analyzed responses from 112 concierge physicians. GAO also reviewed relevant laws, policies, and available data on access to physician services and interviewed officials at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and representatives of Medicare beneficiary advocacy groups."
Date: August 12, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Information Security: Improving Oversight of Access to Federal Systems and Data by Contractors Can Reduce Risk

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The federal government increasingly relies on information technology (IT) systems to provide essential services affecting the health, economy, and defense of the nation. To assist in providing these important services, the federal government relies extensively on contractors to provide IT services and systems. In addition to contractors that provide systems and services to the federal government, other organizations possess or use federal information or have access to federal information systems. These other organizations with privileged access to federal data and systems can include grantees, state and local governments, and research and educational institutions. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) cited contractor security as a governmentwide challenge in a 2001 information security report to Congress. Recognizing the need for agencies to have effective information security programs, Congress passed the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA), which provides the overall framework for ensuring the effectiveness of information security controls that support federal operations and assets. FISMA requirements apply to all federal contractors and organizations or sources that possess or use federal information or that operate, use, or have access to federal information systems on behalf of an agency. Our objectives were to (1) describe the information security risks associated with the federal government's reliance on contractor-provided IT systems and services and other users with privileged access to federal data and systems; (2) identify methods used by federal agencies to ensure security of information and information systems that are operated, used, or accessed by contractors and other users with privileged access to federal data; and (3) discuss steps the administration is taking to ensure implementation and oversight of security of information and information systems that are operated, used, or accessed by contractors and other users with …
Date: April 22, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Defense Logistics: Better Strategic Planning Can Help Ensure DOD's Successful Implementation of Passive Radio Frequency Identification

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Defense (DOD) has had problems with tracking and identifying inventory for many years, most recently in Operation Iraqi Freedom. One of several tools DOD is using to address these inventory problems is radio frequency identification (RFID). RFID technology consists of passive or active tags that are attached to equipment and supplies that are shipped from one location to another. Although DOD did not begin official implementation of passive RFID technology until January 1, 2005, DOD has been using active RFID technology since the early 1990s and began developing policy and pilot testing passive RFID in 2003. As of January 1, 2007, all commodities, excluding bulk commodities, are to have passive RFID tags. Full implementation of passive RFID is estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. This report (1) provides information on the status of passive RFID implementation, (2) addresses the extent to which DOD has developed a strategic approach for implementing passive RFID, and (3) highlights challenges DOD recognizes it faces in implementing passive RFID and any plans developed by DOD to mitigate these challenges."
Date: September 12, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Border Security: Actions Needed to Strengthen Management of Department of Homeland Security's Visa Security Program

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Homeland Security Act of 2002 required that the Department of Homeland Security's on-site personnel in Saudi Arabia review all visa applications. The act also authorized the expansion of the Visa Security Program to other embassies and consulates to provide expert advice and training to consular officers, among other things. Given the congressional interest in effective implementation of the Visa Security Program, we assessed (1) the Visa Security Officers' activities in Saudi Arabia, and (2) DHS's plans to expand its Visa Security Program to other consular posts overseas."
Date: July 29, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Mortgage Financing: Additional Action Needed to Manage Risks of FHA-Insured Loans with Down Payment Assistance

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) permits borrowers to obtain down payment assistance from third parties; but, research has raised concerns about the performance of loans with such assistance. Due to these concerns, GAO examined the (1) trends in the use of down payment assistance with FHA-insured loans, (2) the impact that the presence of such assistance has on purchase transactions and house prices, (3) how such assistance influences the performance of these loans, and (4) FHA's standards and controls for these loans."
Date: November 9, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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D.C. Charter Schools: Strengthening Monitoring and Process When Schools Close Could Improve Accountability and Ease Student Transitions

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "D.C. has a larger percentage of students in charter schools than any state. To help oversee D.C. charter schools, Congress established two authorizers--the Board of Education (BOE), which has an Office of Charter Schools responsible for oversight, and the independent Public Charter School Board (PCSB). Congress required the GAO to conduct a study of the authorizers. This report--which completes GAO's May 2005 study--examines the (1) authorizers' resources, (2) oversight practices, and (3) actions taken once charter schools close. GAO examined BOE and PCSB monitoring reports, revenue and expenditure documents, and closure procedures."
Date: November 17, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Smithsonian Institution: Facilities Management Reorganization Is Progressing, but Funding Remains a Challenge

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Smithsonian is the world's largest museum complex and research organization, with 18 museums and galleries, 10 science centers, and a zoological park. The age of the structures, past inattention to maintenance needs, and high visitation have left its facilities in need of revitalization and repair. Currently, the Smithsonian estimates $2.3 billion in costs for revitalization, construction, and maintenance projects between 2005 and 2013. This report addresses (1) how the current condition of the Smithsonian's facilities has affected access to the collections, and the collections themselves; (2) what changes the Smithsonian has made to its organization, practices, and prioritization processes to improve its facilities management; and (3) the estimated costs and status of the Smithsonian's facilities projects and their funding sources."
Date: April 25, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Equal Employment Opportunity: The Policy Framework in the Federal Workplace and the Roles of EEOC and OPM

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The federal government has created a framework to provide for EEO by prohibiting unlawful discrimination based on such factors as race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, and disability, and offers redress when discrimination and retaliation have occurred. To further EEO and help bring about a diverse workforce, federal agencies are required to carry out affirmative employment and minority recruitment programs. EEOC and OPM have primary responsibility for ensuring that the government's policies for a fair, equitable, and inclusive workplace are carried out. In response to a congressional request that GAO provide information on the federal government's performance in promoting EEO and managing its diverse workforce, this report provides information on (1) the statutory and policy framework relating to EEO, affirmative employment, and workforce diversity and (2) the roles and responsibilities of EEOC and OPM within the framework and how these agencies carry out these roles and responsibilities."
Date: April 29, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Information Security: Progress Made, but Federal Aviation Administration Needs to Improve Controls over Air Traffic Control Systems

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) performs critical functions that contribute to ensuring safe, orderly, and efficient air travel in the national airspace system. To that end, it operates and relies extensively on an array of interconnected automated information systems and networks that comprise the nation's air traffic control systems. These systems provide information to air traffic controllers and aircraft flight crews to help ensure the safe and expeditious movement of aircraft. Interruptions of service by these systems could have a significant adverse impact on air traffic nationwide. Effective information security controls are essential for ensuring that the nation's air traffic control systems are adequately protected from inadvertent or deliberate misuse, disruption, or destruction. Accordingly, GAO was asked to evaluate the extent to which FAA has implemented information security controls for these systems."
Date: August 26, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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DOD Problem Disbursements: Long-standing Accounting Weaknesses Result in Inaccurate Records and Substantial Write-offs

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Over the years, the Department of Defense (DOD) has recorded billions of dollars of disbursements and collections in suspense accounts because the proper appropriation accounts could not be identified and charged. DOD has also been unable to resolve discrepancies between its and Treasury's records of checks issued by DOD. Because documentation that would allow for resolution of these payment recording problems could not be found after so many years, DOD requested and received legislative authority to write off certain aged suspense transactions and check payment differences. The conference report (H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 107-772) that accompanied the legislation (Pub. L. No. 107-314) required GAO to review and report on DOD's use of this write-off authority."
Date: June 2, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Tax Shelters: Services Provided by External Auditors

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Recent legislative and regulatory changes have addressed the relationship between auditor-provided tax services and auditor independence. At this time, the federal regulatory community is exploring further changes. To contribute to the discussion surrounding these changes, GAO's objectives were to determine (1) according to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data, how many Fortune 500 companies obtained tax shelter services from their auditor; (2) according to IRS data, in how many Fortune 500 companies did the auditor provide the services to individual company officers or directors; and (3) whether selected Fortune 500 case study companies changed how they obtain tax services from their auditor in recent years. For the first two objectives, GAO used IRS and Standard and Poor's data after finding they were sufficiently reliable for our work. GAO counted a company, officer, or director as obtaining a tax shelter service from the company's external auditor when an auditor that IRS identified as promoting a tax shelter also audited the company in at least one year that the shelter was in effect. For the third objective, independent of any IRS information, GAO selected case studies on the basis of geographic location and previous GAO contact. The companies are illustrative in nature and not intended to be representative of other companies."
Date: February 1, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Defense Acquisitions: Changes in E-10A Acquisition Strategy Needed before Development Starts

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Air Force is on the verge of making a major commitment to the multi-billion dollar E-10A Multi-sensor Command and Control Aircraft program. Due to the substantial investment needed and technological challenges in developing the aircraft, the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces asked GAO to examine the soundness of the E-10A business case as well as the risks associated with the current acquisition strategy."
Date: March 15, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Natural Resources: Federal Agencies Are Engaged in Various Efforts to Promote the Utilization of Woody Biomass, but Significant Obstacles to Its Use Remain

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In an effort to reduce the risk of wildland fires, many federal land managers--including the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)--are placing greater emphasis on thinning forests and rangelands to help reduce the buildup of potentially hazardous fuels. These thinning efforts generate considerable quantities of woody material, including many smaller trees, limbs, and brush--referred to as woody biomass--that currently have little or no commercial value. GAO was asked to determine (1) which federal agencies are involved in efforts to promote the use of woody biomass, and actions they are undertaking; (2) how these agencies are coordinating their activities; and (3) what agencies see as obstacles to increasing the use of woody biomass, and the extent to which they are addressing these obstacles."
Date: May 13, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Agent Orange: Limited Information Is Available on the Number of Civilians Exposed in Vietnam and Their Workers' Compensation Claims

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Concerns about difficulties civilian employees of the U.S. government may have in obtaining workers' compensation benefits for medical conditions they developed as a result of their exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam led to GAO being asked to determine (1) what is known about the number of civilians who served in Vietnam, both those employed directly by the U.S. government and those employed by companies that contracted with the government; (2) what is known about the number, processing, and disposition of claims filed by these civilians; and (3) what options are available if Congress chooses to improve access to benefits for civilians exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam who developed illnesses as a result of their exposure, and what are their cost implications?"
Date: April 22, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Immigrant Investors: Small Number of Participants Attributed to Pending Regulations and Other Factors

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In 1990, Congress established an investor visa category, referred to as EB-5, whereby immigrants are granted conditional residence and after 2 years, permanent residence status in the United States if they invest in a commercial enterprise that will benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs. The Basic Pilot Program Extension and Expansion Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-156) mandates that GAO provide certain information regarding the EB-5 employment category. In response to the mandate, this report provides information on immigrant participation, including the number of participants, their countries of origin, and the number who sought U.S. citizenship. Also, this report includes information about the types of business established and where they were established."
Date: April 1, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Large Truck Safety: Federal Enforcement Efforts Have Been Stronger Since 2000, but Oversight of State Grants Needs Improvement

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "About 5,000 people die and more than 120,000 are injured each year from crashes involving large trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has several enforcement programs to improve truck safety and funds similar enforcement programs in states through its Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP). Following concern by Congress and others in 1999 that FMCSA's enforcement approach was ineffective, the agency committed to take stronger actions. This study reports on how FMCSA's enforcement approach has changed, how it makes decisions about its enforcement approach, and how it ensures that its grants to states contribute to the agency's mission of saving lives."
Date: December 15, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Community Policing Grants: COPS Grants Were a Modest Contributor to Declines in Crime in the 1990s

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Between 1994 and 2001, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) provided more than $7.6 billion in grants to state and local communities to hire police officers and promote community policing as an effective strategy to prevent crime. Studies of the impact of the grants on crime have been inconclusive. GAO was asked to evaluate the effect of the COPS program on the decline in crime during the 1990s. GAO developed and analyzed a database containing annual observations on crime, police officers, COPS funds, and other factors related to crime, covering years prior to and during the COPS program, or from 1990 through 2001. GAO analyzed survey data on policing practices that agencies reportedly implemented and reviewed studies of policing practices. GAO assessed: (1) how COPS obligations were distributed and how much was spent; (2) the extent to which COPS expenditures contributed to increases in the number of police officers and declines in crime nationwide; and (3) the extent to which COPS grants during the 1990s were associated with policing practices that crime literature indicates could be effective. In commenting on a draft of this report, the COPS Office said that our findings are important and support conclusions reached by others."
Date: October 14, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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