In October 2007, the White House issued the National Strategy for Information Sharing (PDF). The Strategy states that tribal governments are critical partners with federal, state, and local governments and must be able to share and make use of law enforcement and anti-terrorism intelligence. Tribal law enforcement agencies protect tribal communities and also guard against threats to our national security. The Office of Tribal Justice (OTJ) is involved in a variety of efforts to facilitate these goals. For more information about the information sharing needs of tribal government agencies, visit: http://www.ise.gov/mission-partner/state-local-territorial-and-tribal-governments.
Tribal Law and Order Act – The Tribal Law and Order Act (Public Law 111-211) was signed into law in July 2010. This law addresses many aspects of the criminal justice system in Indian country including criminal intelligence information sharing. Section 233 of the Act amends 28 U.S.C. 534 to statutorily permit tribal law enforcement agencies to access federal criminal information databases. This includes access to the databases of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
Fusion Centers – One of the ways that information sharing principles are being implemented is through the creation of fusion centers. Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the National Fusion Center Conference and indicated his support for fusion centers. Fusion Centers provide opportunities for federal, state, local, and tribal agencies to share intelligence in order to improve public safety. The national Fusion Center Guidelines (PDF) and the Baseline Capabilities for State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers (PDF) both provide for tribal involvement. Tribal participation in fusion centers is key to ensuring that the National Strategy for Information Sharing is fully implemented in Indian country. OTJ supports and encourages close interaction between tribal law enforcement agencies and the fusion centers and is exploring ways to facilitate such efforts. For more information about inclusion of tribal agencies in fusion center activities, visit: http://www.justice.gov/otj/pdf/tribal-fusion-centers.pdf.
Tribal Public Safety Network – OTJ created and provides the moderator for the Tribal Public Safety Network (T-Net) within the FBI’s Law Enforcement Online secure website to provide federal/tribal/state/local law enforcement, prosecutorial, corrections, homeland security, and intelligence officials with news, training information, and bulletins and to provide a forum for secure communications and exchange of ideas.
HSIN – Tribal – The Department of Homeland Security’s online Homeland Security Information Network is a secure website dedicated to provide homeland security professionals with a place to exchange relevant information and ideas. OTJ has taken a leadership role in the development of HSIN-Tribal which is a site (located within the larger HSIN site) dedicated to homeland security issues in tribal communities.
Web Based Systems – It should be noted that many of the criminal intelligence information sharing systems that can be utilized by tribal law enforcement agencies are now web based and do not require special equipment nor expensive lines of communication.