Implementation of the Department of the Interior’s Law Enforcement Records System
STATEMENT OF HARRY HUMBERT, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC SAFETY, RESOURCE PROTECTION AND EMERGENCY SERVICES, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND INVESTIGATIONS ON IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR’S LAW ENFORCEMENT RECORDS SYSTEM.
March 17, 2016
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the implementation of the Department of the Interior’s Incident Management, Analysis and Reporting System (IMARS). My name is Harry Humbert and I am the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Safety, Resource Protection and Emergency Services. I have been a career law enforcement officer with both active-duty military and civilian agencies for over 35 years, including retiring from the U.S. Army as a Criminal Investigations Command Special Agent and 16 years as a Special Agent with the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of the Interior.
In my current role as the Deputy Assistant Secretary, I am responsible for program direction and oversight on law enforcement policy; border security; drug enforcement; training; internal affairs; program compliance and inspections; physical, personnel, and national security programs; protection of critical infrastructure such as dams and national monuments and icons; and emergency deployment of Departmental law enforcement resources.
The Department has law enforcement officers in seven separate and distinct organizational units within five Department bureaus: the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Office of Law Enforcement, the FWS’s Division of Refuge Law Enforcement, the U.S. Park Police, and the National Park Service.
In 2002, a comprehensive Office of Inspector General (OIG) report reviewed the Department’s law enforcement programs and made a series of recommendations intended to enhance the management, efficiency and coordination of these programs across the Department. The report recognized that modern policing utilizes crime statistics for a variety of purposes, from staffing and deployment to funding and performance. The report also recognized that reliable and timely information is invaluable to decision making.
The OIG report further stated that individual bureaus were developing and managing their own records systems and that, “inconsistent and independent collection of data and reporting guidelines make any statistical analysis of DOI law enforcement programs extremely difficult in the best case, and impossible in the worst.”
Recognizing that the ability to access and share information regarding incidents on Department public lands is vital to law enforcement officer safety and the security of areas enjoyed by the public, one of these recommendations was to develop and implement a Department-wide central 2 records system with mandates regarding what information should be obtained and how it must be reported. In 2002, following a comprehensive panel review of the OIG’s report and recommendations by Department and Bureau leadership and law enforcement executives, the Secretary of the Interior directed the Assistant Secretary – Policy, Management, and Budget (PMB), and the Deputy Assistant Secretary - Law Enforcement and Security to develop and implement the OIG’s recommendation regarding this system.
In response to the Secretary’s direction, the Incident Management, Analysis and Reporting System (IMARS) was selected as the Department-wide central records system for bureau law enforcement personnel. The IMARS is similar to systems utilized by police organizations across the United States.
The IMARS is now operational and allows the bureaus to readily share law enforcement information across the Department. The IMARS also allows for better and more efficient reporting of crime statistics to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. To date, five of the seven Department law enforcement programs, including the U.S. Park Police, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Bureau of Reclamation, have retired their legacy systems and fully deployed and integrated IMARS into their law enforcement operations. In total, close to 4,000 of the Department’s 4,900 law enforcement officers and operations personnel currently use IMARS.
The FWS’s Office of Law Enforcement and the Division of Refuge Law Enforcement are the two programs still operating on a legacy system – the Law Enforcement Management Information System (LEMIS). Currently, until LEMIS and IMARS are integrated, the FWS does not have the same ability to share information via IMARS with other Department law enforcement programs on a real-time basis, nor can they utilize a wide variety of other capabilities in the IMARS, such as the recently established law enforcement intelligence sharing portal.
The FWS has raised concerns about whether IMARS can fully meet its unique law enforcement needs. A specific issue, as it relates to combating wildlife trafficking, is that LEMIS is currently the operational platform to implement FWS’s interface with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection as part of the International Trade Data System. Issues involving the FWS’s conversion to IMARS are currently being evaluated by the Department in the context of current IT standards and law enforcement protocols.
The migration of users from a legacy IT system into a new system often raises questions, and ultimately, successful deployment is an iterative process informed by the needs of individual users and the incorporation by leadership into mission goals. Technical and operational requirements, as well as risks and opportunities, are considered in the process of implementing any such system. When we integrated the five law enforcement programs into IMARS, we addressed their unique needs and requirements and we are working to do just that for FWS. In all cases, however, the Department remains committed to ensuring the safety and security of areas enjoyed by the public, and that bureaus have the ability to access and share information regarding incidents on Department public lands.
We will continue to work with the FWS to identify solutions to ensure agency participation with the Department’s IMARS solution to ensure that FWS’s unique law enforcement needs are met.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my statement. I would be happy to answer any questions that you or other members of the subcommittee may have.