Law Enforcement Issues Missing In Spirited Presidential Race This Time Around

“There may be trouble ahead” the lyric goes in the first line of Irving Berlin’s famous song, “Let’s Face the Music and Dance”. That seems apropos when we contemplate the state of Federal law enforcement in this pre-presidential election season. Tellingly absent from the candidates’ daily dialogue in this presidential election is any mention of law enforcement issues. In election times past, the promise of safer streets, crackdowns on drugs and gun trafficking, or what have you, was a staple of campaign rhetoric on the stump.

There is a reason for this, and why there really may be “trouble ahead” for Federal law enforcement. Both candidates understand that the economic crisis facing the country with the ensuing $700 Billion bailout, coupled with the black hole of the Federal deficit, the burgeoning costs of the two foreign wars, and the looming fiscal nightmare of the long range financial health of Medicare and Social Security, doesn’t leave much change in the Federal piggy bank for any bold or sweeping improvements to Federal law enforcement initiatives or to buttress existing programs.

The front page of the Sunday New York Times (October 19, 2008) carried an above-the-fold story, “FBI STRUGGLING TO HANDLE WAVE OF FINANCIAL CASES”, reporting how the FBI has too few financial investigations resources to cover the plethora of criminal fraud matters dropping out of the financial entities involved in the evolving economic crisis. The article reported that the ranks of the FBI’s white collar crimes experts have been winnowed away by the shift of emphasis within the Bureau to counter-terrorism missions. Hopefully, prudent decisions will prevail within FBI Headquarters. We need to keep our eye on the fight against terrorism, but we still need to enforce the integrity of our financial system. Needless to say, while there have been some widely publicized law enforcement anti-terrorism prosecutorial miscues since September 11, 2001, on balance, we have to believe that Federal law enforcement is doing a better job protecting the homeland, as the absence of further attacks will attest.

In any case, huge new law enforcement responsibilities will confront the already over-burdened Federal law enforcement entities with the arrival of the new President’s administration. These challenges will present themselves with no budget dollars to fund their solution. What can we do? We all need to pay attention to what will happen. Through our legislative representatives we will need to reward Federal law enforcement agency heads who jettison out-dated enforcement programs and played-out missions.

These actions will require innovative and vigorous leadership to find these economies-of-scale. Simply put: There needs to be change in the way Federal law enforcement does business. If even some of this can happen maybe some of that “trouble ahead” can be avoided.

(Jim Huse is the CEO of IntegriGuard, LLC, a program integrity, payment accuracy company in Omaha, NE. You can learn more about him and his company at