Two federal crime-busting units planned for Central Florida could hinder efforts to stem local violence unless the incoming agents can avoid duplicating work or crossing their investigations, says the Orlando Sentinel. A new study from the U.S. Department of Justice inspector general said that federal task forces sent into eight U.S. cities often overran one another. More dangerously, these mix-ups led to agents targeting one another at least three times.
The aim of the new Florida operation is to combat record murder rates in the Orlando area as well as to limit gunrunning throughout the region. The teams join a region already loaded with multi-agency task forces and informal groups that assist one another. The FBI started the Safe Streets task force in Orlando earlier this year to target violent criminals. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been working with Orlando police and Orange County Sheriff’s Office agents to track illicit gun dealing and weapons used in violent crimes. Defense attorney Rick Jancha, a former federal prosecutor who handled task force cases before retiring in January, warned that more money and agents will solve nothing without a solid plan. “There are enough task forces in existence now that if they just focus and coordinate, then there wouldn’t be any need for additional task forces,” he said. “The problem is that Washington’s answer to a problem is to throw money at the problem.”