Tuesday, October 2, 2012
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration today released Criminal Investigation’s Firearms Training and Qualification Policies Need to Be Clarified (2012-30-104):
In performing the IRS’s law enforcement mission, Criminal Investigation (CI) special agents may be called upon to execute search warrants and arrest those suspected of violating the U.S. tax laws and other Federal statutes over which the IRS has jurisdiction. When performing their duties, special agents carry firearms and are authorized to use deadly force to protect themselves and the public. Suspected criminals, who face the prospect of incarceration, may violently resist arrest regardless of how minor the crime may seem. CI special agents must be fully prepared to respond with force when necessary. Special agents not properly trained in the use of firearms could endanger the public, as well as their fellow special agents, and expose the IRS to possible litigation over injuries or damages.
CI’s firearms training and qualification requirements generally met or exceeded those of other Federal law enforcement agencies. However, TIGTA found that some CI special agents did not meet all firearms training and qualification requirements. Field office management did not always take consistent and appropriate actions when a special agent failed to meet the requirements because the guidance is vague. In addition, there is no national-level review of firearms training records to ensure that all special agents meet the qualification requirements. TIGTA also found that firearm discharge incidents were not always properly reported and that remedial training was not always required after accidental discharges due to special agent negligence. Lastly, procedures for securing a firearm after a discharge are not adequate.