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1907 Annual Report

Historical Documents from the Bureau's Founding

Annual Report of the Attorney General of the United States, 1907, p.9

Need of a Detective Force

The attention of the Congress should be, I think, called to the anomaly that the Department of Justice has no executive force, and, more particularly, no permanent detective force under its immediate [p.10] control. This singular condition arises mainly from the fact that before the office of the Attorney-General was transformed into the Department of Justice a highly efficient detective service had been organized to deal with crimes against the Treasury laws, which force has been, in effect, lent from time to time to this Department to meet its steadily increasing need for an agency of this nature, without, however, being removed from the control of the Treasury Department. I note with pleasure the efficiency and zeal with which these officers have cooperated with the United States attorneys and marshals, as well as with the special representatives of this Department in the interest of their own special and appropriate duties. When emergencies arise requiring prompt and effective executive action, the Department is now obliged to rely upon the several U. S. marshals; if it had a small, carefully selected, and experienced force under its immediate orders, the necessity of having these officers suddenly appoint special deputies, possible y in considerable numbers, might be sometimes avoided with greater likelihood of economy and better assurance of satisfactory results. I venture to recommend, therefore, that provision be made for a force of this character; its number and the form of its organization to be determined by the scope of the duties which the Congress may see fit to intrust to it. It may well be thought wise to preserve the existing detective organization, especially in view of its highly creditable record and excellent service, and it is not in any wise my purpose to suggest a different view, but it seems obvious that the Department on which not only the President, but the courts of the United States must call first to secure the enforcement of the laws, ought to have the means of such enforcement subject to its own call; a Department of Justice with no force of permanent police in any form under its control is assuredly not fully equipped for its work.