Report 2015-504 All Recommendation Responses

Report 2015-504: Follow-Up—California Department of Justice: Delays in Fully Implementing Recommendations Prevent It From Accurately and Promptly Identifying All Armed Persons With Mental Illness, Resulting in Continued Risk to Public Safety (Release Date: July 2015)

Recommendation for Legislative Action

To ensure that Justice fairly balances competing responsibilities and avoids redirecting APPS unit staff to conduct Dealers' Record of Sale background checks, the Legislature should require Justice to complete an initial review of cases in the daily queue within seven days and periodically reassess whether Justice can complete these reviews more quickly.

Description of Legislative Action

Assembly Bill 1999 (Chapter 638, Statutes of 2016) requires the Department of Justice to complete an initial review of a match, as defined, in the daily queue of the Armed Prohibited Persons System within seven days of the match being placed in the queue and to periodically reassess whether the department can complete those reviews more efficiently.

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: November 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Legislation Enacted


Description of Legislative Action

Legislation has not been introduced to address this recommendation.

  • Legislative Action Current As-of: January 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: No Action Taken


Recommendation #2 To: Justice, Department of

To ensure that it accurately identifies all prohibited persons, Justice should implement its plan to develop a checklist by July 2015 and desk procedures by September 2015 to aid its analysts in making correct prohibition determinations.

6-Month Agency Response

The Department developed a quick reference checklist and distributed to staff for immediate implementation on July 29, 2015. The detailed desk procedures of each complex step-by-step process were completed and distributed to staff for implementation on September 30, 2015.

  • Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: January 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Fully Implemented


60-Day Agency Response

The Department developed a quick reference checklist and distributed to staff for immediate implementation on July 29, 2015. The detailed desk procedures of each complex step-by-step process are in progress and on track for distribution by September 30, 2015. The quick reference checklist will be provided for reference.

In addition, the Department provided a 4-hour Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) refresher training in August 2015 to all analysts in the unit. Refresher training will be provided on an annual basis.

  • Estimated Completion Date: September 30, 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Partially Implemented


Recommendation #3 To: Justice, Department of

To ensure staff can promptly address the daily queue and the historical backlog, by July 2016 Justice should identify and implement strategies, including pursuing funding, to staff its bureau operations to the level it needs.

1-Year Agency Response

In order to address both the daily queue and historical backlog the Department has continued the following actions: 1) Directed all APPS Unit staff to work a minimum of 48 hours of overtime per month; 2) Recruited eleven analysts from other departmental bureaus to work 40 hours of overtime a month in the APPS Unit; 3) Filled two vacant CIS II positions in the APPS Unit; 4) Received departmental approval to hire an additional CIS II in the APPS Unit (currently still in the recruiting process); 5) Currently working with the Department's Hawkins Data Center on one-time programming scripts to automate the processing of specified record types.

Additionally, the Department worked with Budget staff to identify funding that allows for the hiring of 21 additional staff in the APPS and DROS Unit on a permanent basis. Of the 21 positions, the Department has filled 5, and selected another 4 that are undergoing the division's background investigation. The remaining 12 positions are currently in the advertisement process.

With the actions listed above, the Bureau has been successful in completing the historical backlog. As last reported, on September 16, 2015, the backlog was at 240,683. The redirected staff started on September 19, 2015. On March 16, 2016, the historical backlog was cleared.

  • Completion Date: March 2016
  • Response Date: June 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


6-Month Agency Response

In order to address both the daily queue and historical backlog the Department has taken the following actions: 1) Directed all APPS Unit staff to work a minimum of 48 hours of overtime per month; 2) Recruited eleven analysts from other departmental bureaus to work 40 hours of overtime a month in the APPS Unit; 3) Redirected 4 analysts from within the Bureau to work 40 hours of overtime a month in the APPS Unit; 4) Filled two vacant CIS II positions in the APPS Unit; 5) Received departmental approval to hire an additional CIS II in the APPS Unit (currently undergoing the mandatory Division of Law Enforcement background); 6) Currently working with the Department's Hawkins Data Center on one-time programming scripts to automate the processing of specified record types.

Additionally, the Department worked with Budget staff to identify funding that will allow for the hiring of additional staff in the APPS and DROS Unit on a permanent basis. The advertisement for these positions will be posted in February 2016.

With the actions listed above, the Bureau has made great strides in reducing the historical backlog. On September 16, 2015, the backlog was at 240,683. The redirected staff started on September 19, 2015. Since that time, the historical backlog has reduced to 123,932 (as of December 28, 2015), for a total reduction of 116,751. The Department is fully committed, and on track, to eliminate the historical backlog by December 31, 2016.

  • Estimated Completion Date: December 31, 2016
  • Response Date: January 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Partially Implemented


60-Day Agency Response

In order to address both the daily queue and historical backlog the Department has taken the following actions: 1) Directed all APPS Unit staff to work a minimum of 48 hours of overtime per month; 2) Redirected three full-time Criminal Identification Specialist (CIS) IIs from another unit in the Bureau of Firearms to assist the APPS Unit; 3) Recruited ten CIS IIs from other departmental bureaus to work 40 hours of overtime a month in the APPS Unit. The Department is actively continuing efforts to recruit additional resources; 4) Conducted interviews and selected candidates to fill two vacant CIS II positions in the APPS Unit (currently undergoing the mandatory Division of Law Enforcement background process); 5) Currently working with the Department's Hawkins Data Center on one-time programming scripts to automate the processing of specified record types.

Additionally, the Department is working with Budget staff to identify funding that will allow for the hiring of additional staff in the APPS Unit on a permanent basis.

The Department is committed to eliminating the APPS historical backlog by December 31, 2016.

  • Estimated Completion Date: December 31, 2016
  • Response Date: September 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Partially Implemented


Recommendation #4 To: Justice, Department of

To fully implement our previous recommendation and ensure that it keeps an updated accurate list of all mental health facilities, by July 2015 Justice should implement supervisory review of its analyst's comparison of Justice's mental health facilities list and Health Care Services' list to ensure staff identified and corrected all discrepancies.

60-Day Agency Response

The Department is working with the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to receive a list of all mental health facilities on a monthly basis. The Department reviews and compares its list against the list received from DHCS. If discrepancies are found, the Department works with DHCS to resolve them. The manager over the Mental Health Unit completes a high-level review each month and notes any concerns on the list for the analyst to address.

DHCS stated they will continue to update their website on a quarterly basis. The Department is comparing its list with the website list each quarter and noting any discrepancies. A new procedure has been added to forward the list to the unit's manager for a thorough supervisory review to ensure staff have identified and corrected all discrepancies. The manager will make any necessary notations on the spreadsheet for the analyst to explain or correct. In addition, the manager will sign and date the bottom of each page to acknowledge that the supervisory review has been completed. The Department will continue to work with DHCS to resolve any discrepancies.

  • Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: November 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Fully Implemented

We reviewed documentation provided by Justice supporting its statements and confirmed that is has fully implemented this recommendation.


Recommendation #5 To: Justice, Department of

To fully implement our previous recommendation and ensure that it investigates all significant drops in mental health facility reporting, Justice should revise its procedure to consider drops between each quarter.

60-Day Agency Response

The Department has revised its procedures to send quarterly reports to all mental health facilities regardless whether the facility has shown a decline in reporting from month to month. A letter addressed to the facility director, along with a bar chart illustrating the data from the previous 14 months of reports submitted to the Department, is sent to 1/3 of each reporting mental health facilities on a monthly rotating basis. This will ensure that each mental health facility receives this report on a quarterly basis. A sample copy of the letter and bar chart will be provided for reference.

The Department continues to contact facilities that show a 30% or more reduction in reporting to gather information as to the reason for the reduction. All facilities that show a reduction of 30% or more are offered training by the Department. If the facility wishes to schedule training, the Mental Health Unit will work with the Training, Information, and Compliance Section to schedule training.

  • Completion Date: September 2015
  • Response Date: November 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Fully Implemented


All Recommendations in 2015-504

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.


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