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Press Release

Department of Justice Announces Expansion of Program to Enhance Tribal Access to National Crime Information Databases

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
Department of Justice Tribal Access Program Will Continue to Improve the Exchange of Critical Data To Solve Crimes and Strengthen Public Safety in Indian Country

The Department of Justice is pleased to announce expansion of the Tribal Access Program (TAP), a program providing federally recognized Tribes the ability to access and exchange data with the national crime information databases for both civil and criminal purposes.  

The department will accept applications from Aug. 1 to Oct. 1, 2018.  Interested Tribes may apply by using this link: Tribes that are selected for participation will be notified by Oct. 15, 2018, and deployment activities will begin shortly thereafter; deployment to all selected Tribes will be completed by Sept. 30, 2019.

“President Trump and Attorney General Sessions are committed to reducing violent crime in Indian Country,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. “Today’s announcement is another example of this commitment and the administration’s efforts to ensure Tribal police have access to the innovative tools and resources they need to ensure public safety and promote the rule of law.” 

“The Tribal Access Program has been instrumental in ensuring tribal protection orders are entered into federal criminal databases. This alerts law enforcement departments throughout the nation to their existence, and prevents covered individuals from illegally purchasing firearms. TAP also provides an easy platform for entering sex offender registrations into the National Sex Offender Registry. In short, it is a critical law enforcement and public safety tool for Indian country,” noted Woodrow Star, Chairman of the Law and Order Committee and Member of the Board of Trustees, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.   

TAP is funded by the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART), the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and for 2019, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC).  Given the funding sources, eligible tribes must have a sex offender registry authorized by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, a law enforcement agency that is not a Bureau of Indian Affairs direct service agency, or will utilize the TAP system to assist in providing services to victims of crime.

Under TAP, Tribes have successfully begun entering information directly into the federal databases, resulting in nearly 600 sex offender registrations and over 550 sex offender check-ins, nearly 300 instances of data entry that would prohibit someone from being able to purchase a firearm, over 1000 orders of protection entered or modified and over 4,200 finger-print based record checks for civil purposes that include employment, tribal housing placement and personnel/volunteers who have regular contact with or control over Indian children.

For FY19, the Department of Justice offers TAP services through one of the following two methods:

  • TAP-LIGHT:  The department provides software that provides full access (both query and entry capabilities) to national crime information databases such as National Criminal Information Center (NCIC), the Interstate Identification Index (III) and the International Justice and Public Safety Network (Nlets) for both criminal and civil purposes; and
  • TAP-FULL: The department provides the same basic capabilities as TAP-LIGHT listed above, and also provides an additional hardware/software solution in the form of a kiosk-workstation that provides the ability to submit and query fingerprint-based transactions via FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) for both criminal and civil purposes.

Criminal agencies that may participate include law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, criminal courts, jails, and probation departments.  Civil agencies and programs that may participate include agencies whose staff/volunteers have contact with or control over Indian children; public housing agencies; child support enforcement agencies; Head Start programs; social service agencies that investigate allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of children; civil courts that issue orders of protection, restraining orders, or other keep away orders and sex offender registration programs.

TAP supports Tribes in analyzing their needs for national crime information and provides appropriate solutions, including a state-of-the-art biometric/biographic kiosk workstation with capabilities to process finger and palm prints, take mugshots and submit records to national databases, as well as the ability to access Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) systems for criminal and civil purposes through the Department of Justice’s Criminal Justice Information Network.  TAP, which is managed by DOJ’s Chief Information Officer, provides specialized training and assistance for participating Tribes, including computer-based training, and on-site instruction, as well as a 24x7 Help Desk.  

By September 2018, TAP will be deployed to 47 tribes (both TAP-FULL and TAP-LIGHT) with over 180 Tribal criminal justice and civil agencies participating. 

For more information about TAP, click here +

For a list of the 47 Tribes currently participating in tap, click here.  +

Updated March 14, 2019

Civil Rights
Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 18-1009