TAP Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

TAP Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Tribal Preparations

Our police department already has access to national crime information. How would TAP benefit our tribe?

What legislative or policy determinations will tribes need to make regarding entering information into national crime information systems?

What are the availability requirements for agencies entering records in NCIC?

What costs are associated with TAP?

Can a tribe apply state certificates to satisfy the requirement of law enforcement training  for the issuance of a federal ORI?

Will our access to state data continue?

TAP Implementation

What are the steps in arranging payment to CJIS for Civil background investigations?

Can a tribal Banishment Order be entered into NCIC or other national criminal information databases?

Is a Public Housing Agency authorized to access criminal justice information as part of their official duties required to submit the individual’s name to a law enforcement agency for a name based record check prior to submitting the individual’s fingerprints?

Can a tribal Human Resource department who does hiring for multiple tribal agencies that has employees and volunteers who have contact and control with Indian children be eligible for a FBI CJIS Originating Agency Identifier (ORI) to perform finger print based record checks under the authority of PL 101-630.

Can TAP be used by the tribe for pre-employment fingerprint-based or name-based background checks for all of the Tribe’s economic arms, like gaming or general tribal employment unrelated to the items listed above?

Can a civil agency that has perspective employees, employees or volunteers with contact and control over Indian children utilize TAP to conduct fingerprint-based record checks?

What training does the Tribal Access Program offer?

May a tribal gaming agency obtain access to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Criminal Justice Information Network (CJIN) through the Tribal Access Program (TAP) for the purpose of processing gaming-related background checks?

A tribe has five agencies, each with their own Terminal Agency Coordinator (TAC), that access TAP and an employee with one of the agencies violates TAP use policy. Will the access to TAP for the entire tribe be at risk, or just the violating agency's access?

Can the tribe Point of Contact and Terminal Agency Coordinator be the same person?

What serving model has been favored amongst the user feedback tribes?

Were there tribes in the user feedback phase that wanted only access to national crime information and not submit?

US DOJ Support for Federally Recognized Tribes

Is this the first DOJ initiative to assist tribes with access to national crime information databases?

What lessons did DOJ learn from its pilot programs?

Answers

How do I submit an Expression of Interest Letter for consideration for 2017?

Federally recognized tribes interested in participating in TAP must submit a letter or resolution from the tribe’s governing body. That document should include:

  • Name and contact information of a senior tribal executive who will act as the primary TAP point of contact. This individual must have authority to ensure coordination of TAP across various tribal agencies, departments, and offices. An alternate POC must also be named.
  • A statement acknowledging that misuse or non-use may result in TAP access being discontinued.
  • Language affirming the tribe’s agreement to:
    • Make whole-of-government legislative and policy determinations which provide guidance to tribal agencies about how national crime information databases are used, including what tribal data is entered into those systems.
    • Use TAP to close gaps related to access to national crime information databases if that was an impediment to the implementation of SORNA. This must be accomplished within one year of deployment.
    • Execute a Memorandum of Agreement with FBI CJIS and pay the standard national User Fees associated with fingerprint-based for noncriminal justice (civil) purposes.
    • Provide necessary documentation and establish appropriate policies during the Onboarding and Vetting time period.
    • Ensure users of TAP establish appropriate accounts, take required training, background checks, and obtain necessary certification during the Onboarding and Vetting time period.
    • Ensure users of TAP participate in deployment day training during the Deployment time period. 
    • Comply with and adhere to auditing and policy requirements as well as all personnel, physical, and technical security requirements.
    • Provide high-speed Internet access to the kiosk.

The letter or resolution from the tribe’s governing body must be sent to TAP.App@usdoj.gov no later than midnight eastern time, December 2, 2016. For further information and other important dates please see the Announcement of Program Expansion.

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Is a Public Housing Agency authorized to access criminal justice information as part of their official duties required to submit the individual’s name to a law enforcement agency for a name based record check prior to submitting the individual’s fingerprints?

  • No, the Public Housing agency may submit the individual’s fingerprints directly to NGI for a finger print based record check without a name based record check being performed by a law enforcement agency.  The name based record check is not a required step for the public housing agency to receive criminal justice information for the individual.

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What other criteria besides tribes who have either a Sex Offender Registry pursuant SORNA or a tribal law enforcement agency which is not a federal Bureau of Indian Affairs police department are you looking for?

In addition to the above, we are also looking at:

  • Tribal government’s willingness to participate
  • Tribe meets IT criteria by having high speed internet access
  • Diversity of the tribe in terms of size and geographic location
  • Demonstrated need for access – though our goal is to reach out to ALL tribes

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Are we eligible if we have sex offender registry pursuant to SORNA and a Bureau of Indian Affairs Tribal police department?

  • Yes. The criteria are that you have one or the other.

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May a tribe who has tribal police officers who are BIA SLEC certified be considered for FY 17? 

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Are we eligible if we have sex offender registry pursuant to SORNA and a Bureau of Indian Affairs Tribal police department?

  • Yes. The criteria are that you have one or the other.

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May a tribe who has tribal police officers who are BIA SLEC certified be considered for FY 17? 

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How many tribes do you plan to provide access to in 2017?

  • With current funding levels, our goal is to provide 11 workstations in 2017; if additional funding becomes available we will be able to provide additional workstations.

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Should tribes who applied for the User Feedback phase, but were not selected, resubmit an Expression of Interest letter?

  • Yes. Any tribe that that wants to be considered for 2017 needs to submit an Expression of Interest. 

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Our police department already has access to national crime information. How would TAP benefit our tribe?

  • There are number of other criminal agencies such as probation, criminal courts, corrections, prosecutor’s office, and corrections besides the police department that can benefit from access to national crime information. Civil agencies can also benefit from TAP in a number of ways if they do not currently have access to national crime information such as:
    • Civil Courts can directly enter orders of protection that are visible nationwide for enforcement.
    • Civil courts can conduct criminal history background checks of individuals who are arrested for domestic violence and stalking cases to support court decisions.
    • Tribal Public Housing can conduct a fingerprint-based record check for employees or prospective employees.
    • Tribal Public Housing can conduct fingerprint-based record checks for adult applicants or tenants receiving housing assistance for the purpose of screening, lease enforcement, or eviction.
    • Child Protective Services can conduct a name-based record check of an individual who is the target of an investigation or responding to reports of child abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
    • Children’s Social Services (e.g. Foster Care, schools, daycare, parks and recreation, school transportation) can ensure Indian children are safe by conducting fingerprint-based record checks on tribal employees, prospective employees or volunteers in positions who have regular contact with or control over Indian children.
    • Tribes can utilize TAP to perform fingerprint-based record checks in conjunction with emergency placement of children under BIA Purpose Code X
    • Head Start Programs can conduct fingerprint-based record checks on tribal employees, prospective employees or volunteers for Head Start Programs who have regular contact with or control over Indian children.

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Should we apply to receive TAP or will our Tribe eventually be included into TAP because we are part of the Tribes using UABS?

  • Yes you should apply. TAP is a separate program for which all tribes who wish to participate must apply, including those who have previously used JABS/UABS.

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Will TAP replace our current live scan system purchased using SMART funds several years ago?

  • No. If you are currently using a live scan purchased with SMART funds, you are connected to CJIS using a state CSA and you can continue that process. TAP however, is a self-contained system (software, computer, integrated camera, live scan system, printer, and flatbed scanner) and goes through DOJ as the CSA. TAP is a separate program for which all tribes who wish to participate must apply; including those who have a live scan purchased using SMART funds.

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Are tribes in Public Law 280 states eligible for TAP as part of FY 2017?

  • Yes, tribes in PL 280 states are eligible to apply and be considered for TAP in FY 2017.

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Can Tribes who are currently participating in the JUST Pilot apply for TAP in FY 2017?

  • Yes. These tribes must still meet the base requirements (listed above) and submit an Expression of Interest to be considered.

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Can a civil agency that has perspective employees, employees or volunteers with contact and control over Indian children utilize TAP to conduct fingerprint-based record checks?

  • Yes. TAP can be used to connect fingerprint-based record checks on perspective employees, employees or volunteers with contact and control over Indian children utilize TAP to conduct fingerprint-based record checks. In order to conduct fingerprint based record checks the agency must verify that:
  1. The agency has a legal authority to have contact and control over Indian children.
  2. The agency must be receiving funds under the Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act, Title 25, United States Code (U.S.C.), Section 450 et seq. or the Tribally Controlled Schools Act of 1988, 25 U.S.C. 2501 et seq.
  3. The agency has a proof that the agency has policies and procedures in place that comply with the “Minimum Screening Requirements for Individuals Requiring Access to CJI” as set forth in the CJIS Security Policy and that comply with name-based records check of personnel with CJI-access on a frequency of no more than every 5 years.

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Can TAP be used by the tribe for pre-employment fingerprint-based or name-based background checks for all of the Tribe’s economic arms, like gaming or general tribal employment unrelated to the items listed above?

  • No.  TAP provides access to National Crime Information systems for Criminal Justice Agencies (CJAs) and certain Non-Criminal Justice Agencies (NCJAs) that have a need to perform criminal background checks to meet federal regulations or support federally funded programs, such as child protection, social services, and housing.  However, DOJ CSA does not have the requisite legal authority to provide access to national crime information in support of gaming-related background checks on primary management officials and key employees of any gaming enterprise or for general tribal employment.   In addition, since tribal gaming agencies are not NCJAs, they may not perform their own background checks or do background checks for other tribal agencies who are NCJAs through TAP.

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Can a tribal Human Resource department who does hiring for multiple tribal agencies that has employees and volunteers who have contact and control with Indian children be eligible for a FBI CJIS Originating Agency Identifier (ORI) to perform finger print based record checks under the authority of PL 101-630.

  • Yes. A tribal HR Department would be eligible to be considered for an FBI CJIS issued ORI if they perform the hiring for other agencies who have employees and volunteers that have contact and control over Indian children under PL 101-630.  Consideration needs to be given as to how criminal history information will be transmitted back to the agency about the candidate, storage, and destruction of criminal history record information (CHRI).

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What are the steps in arranging payment to CJIS for Civil background investigations?

  • FBI CJIS will work directly with federal and federally-recognized Indian tribes to establish a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to specify the arrangements for payment.  CJIS provided the following steps that will result in the establishment of the MOA.
    • DOJ CJIS Systems Agency (CSA) sets deployment date and notifies the Partner Relations and Outreach Unit (PROU) Tribal Liaison, including the tribal Point-of-Contact (POC).
    • FBI PROU will advise necessary internal CJIS offices.
    • FBI Fee Programs Unit (FPU) will provide a draft MOA to the tribal POC for review and insertion of tribal contact information.
    • Tribe will provide draft MOA, including tribal contact information, back to FPU **
    • FBI CJIS and Office of General Counsel (OGC) will complete review.
    • FBI FPU will route the completed MOA for internal FBI signatures.
    • FBI FPU will mail 2 signed originals to tribal POC (1 to be kept by tribe/1 to be signed by tribal POC).
    • Tribal POC will return via mail, 1 signed original to FPU.
    • FBI will advise appropriate internal offices of receipt of the signed original, and ORI establishments will proceed.

**Any requested changes in draft MOA will result in OGC legal review

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Can a tribal Banishment Order be entered into NCIC or other national criminal information databases?

  • If the tribal Banishment Order was issued as part of a civil court or administrative process, the Banishment Order cannot be entered into NCIC or any other national criminal information database.
  • If the Banishment Order is part of an individual’s conditions of pre-trial release as part of a criminal prosecution then the Banishment Order can be entered as a condition of release into the NCIC Supervised Release File. On the EC - NCIC Enter Supervised Release form in the Open Fox Messenger user interface, the Miscellaneous Information (MIS) field allows entry of 1 to 500 characters, except that the “period” (.) character cannot be used. Banishment information can be entered into the Miscellaneous Information field.
  • If the Banishment Order is part of an individual’s criminal sentence, then the Banishment Order can be entered when reporting the disposition for the underlying criminal charge to the FBI’s Criminal History III database via NCIC. On the DSP – III Update Records with Disposition Data form in the Open Fox Messenger user interface, the Other Court Sentence Provision Literal (CPL) field allows entry of 1 to 300 characters, except that the “period” (.) character cannot be used. Banishment information can be entered into the Other Court Sentence Provision Literal field.

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What legislative or policy determinations will tribes need to make regarding entering information into national crime information systems?

  • Each tribe must determine what information will be entered into national crime information systems. Tribes should enter information into national crime databases for many reasons; such as to prevent prohibited persons from buying firearms, to have other officers across the country enforce tribal orders of protection, to register sexual offenders, to find missing juveniles, or to recover stolen property. Tribes have the ability to indicate the status of a person (such as wanted, missing, endangered, sex offender, gang member) or property (stolen, lost, or recovered). Tribes should determine if law enforcement and jails will process bookings that capture finger and palm-prints, mugshots, and scars/marks/tattoos (SMTs) for arrests. Tribes must also determine what dispositions (action regarded by the criminal justice system to be final, for example the arrest charges have been modified, dropped, or reports the findings of a court) will be added to criminal history records. Information in national systems will be available to other authorized agencies and may be subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act.

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What are the availability requirements for agencies entering records in NCIC?

  • Every agency entering records into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) must be available to respond to queries 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Record entering agencies may respond to inquiries by 1) staffing a dispatch center which monitors system messages or 2) through phone contact, which may be accomplished by on-duty staff or by on-call staff immediately available on a duty cell phone.

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What costs are associated with TAP?

  • Tribes may incur the following costs:
    • Tribes must pay CJIS directly through a reimbursable agreement for any fingerprint-based civil background checks conducted. Please see FAQ on “What are the steps for arranging payment to CJIS for Civil Background investigations”
    • Tribes must provide high-speed Internet access.
    • There are no other direct costs to tribes.
  • However, tribes must ensure users are trained and process all appropriate background checks required for those users, including fingerprint-based civil background checks.

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What training does the Tribal Access Program offer?

  • TAP provides an integrated training package that includes self-paced on-line learning modules which will be followed-up by the instructor-led, hands-on training at the TAP tribe’s location. Some of the on-line courses must be completed prior to on-site training. The hands-on training will include instruction on NCIC and the NGI fingerprint biometric data capture system using the tribe’s own data.
  • On-line modules include:
    • CJIS Security Awareness Training and Test
    • DOJ Criminal Justice Information Network Systems Overview
    • National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Certification Course and Test
    • Next Generation Identification (NGI) system Overview
    • National Data Exchange (N-DEx)
    • National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)
    • Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal (LEEP)
    • Interstate Identification Index (III)
  • Additional resources include step-by-step directions for commonly used transactions called job aids, fact sheets for focused treatment of policy or implementation issues, documentation addressing the responsibilities of the Terminal Agency Coordinator (TAC), and video and documentation resources regarding the use of NGI and NCIC in support of tribal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) responsibilities.

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May a tribal gaming agency obtain access to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Criminal Justice Information Network (CJIN) through the Tribal Access Program (TAP) for the purpose of processing gaming-related background checks?

  • No.  TAP provides access to National Crime Information systems for Criminal Justice Agencies (CJAs) and certain Non-Criminal Justice Agencies (NCJAs) that have a need to perform criminal background checks to meet federal regulations or support federally funded programs, such as child protection, social services, and housing.  However, DOJ CJIN does not have the requisite legal authority to provide access to national crime information in support of gaming-related background checks of any gaming enterprise.   In addition, since tribal gaming agencies are not NCJAs, they may not perform their own background checks or do background checks for other tribal agencies who are NCJAs through TAP.

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Is this the first DOJ initiative to assist tribes with access to national crime information databases?

  • No, this is the third in a series of efforts aimed at ensuring tribes have the access to national crime information databases they need to protect their communities.
  • In 2010, DOJ recognized some tribes lacked access via their state law enforcement network to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and began a pilot project to improve connectivity. This program has been extended and remains ongoing with approximately 23 tribes today. Known as the JUST Pilot and sponsored by COPS, this pilot program is expected to expire at the end of 2016. COPS and TAP are collaborating to identify a process to transition JUST tribes into the TAP program.
  • Also in 2010, DOJ piloted a biometric program that supported access to Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). Access to IAFIS is important because the submission of fingerprints to national databases is the starting point for acquiring FBI numbers, and thus the production of criminal histories. Fingerprint stations allow for biometric identification of a subject and acquisition of a biometrically based Identity History Summary (criminal history record rap sheet). Access to both NCIC and the Next Generation Identification (NGI) system—the successor to IAFIS—is required for tribes to comply with the Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). This pilot program has expired.
  • Leveraging the lessons learned from the two DOJ pilot programs, in 2014, DOJ and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) formed a working group to assess the impact of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA) and to identify long-term sustainable solutions that address both criminal and civil needs of tribes to access national crime information databases. DOJ also held meetings with tribal representatives to discuss the informational needs of both tribal criminal and non-criminal justice agencies. TAP was an outcome of this collaboration. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Office of Justice Services (OJS) Purpose Code X Program, a companion program offered by DOI, is another program created as a result of this partnership.

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What lessons did DOJ learn from its pilot programs?

  • DOJ learned that acquiring hardware and software that is integrated with the appropriate peripherals is essential, as is providing better technical support and maintenance for the workstations. The pilot programs also revealed the importance of tribally-focused coaching support and training assistance.

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Can a tribe apply state certificates to satisfy the requirement of law enforcement training  for the issuance of a federal ORI?

  • No.  All users need to take DOJ’s CJIS Security Awareness Training and Certification. All sworn law enforcement personnel and NCIC Operators must complete the NCIC Certification Course and NCIC Operators must complete the NCIC Certification test. 

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Will our access to state data continue?

  • Yes, your access to state data will continue as it currently exists. DOJ does not discourage a tribe from using the state system for access.

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A tribe has five agencies, each with their own Terminal Agency Coordinator (TAC), that access TAP and an employee with one of the agencies violates TAP use policy. Will the access to TAP for the entire tribe be at risk, or just the violating agency's access?

  • It depends of the extent and degree of the violation.  Generally, repercussions for violating CJIS Security policy would be at the individual user and  agency level, with the possibility of the Agency losing their ORI. For example, if a user uses the wrong purpose code for a III check, the agency would need to provide remedial training to address.

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Can the tribe Point of Contact and Terminal Agency Coordinator be the same person?

  • Yes. DOJ suggests making that determination based on the size of your agency. The larger your agency the more cumbersome this may be to have the same person in both roles. DOJ always recommends having an alternate for both positions.

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What serving model has been favored amongst the user feedback tribes?

  • Self-Servicing or Servicing Agency provides Criminal Justice Information to a Serviced Agency.

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Were there tribes in the user feedback phase that wanted only access to national crime information and not submit?

  • No. Tribes were chosen based on their need to do both query and enter of data into national crime information databases.

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Can a tribe apply state certificates to satisfy the requirement of law enforcement training  for the issuance of a federal ORI?

  • No.  All users need to take DOJ’s CJIS Security Awareness Training and Certification. All sworn law enforcement personnel and NCIC Operators must complete the NCIC Certification Course and NCIC Operators must complete the NCIC Certification test. 

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Will our access to state data continue?

  • Yes, your access to state data will continue through Nlets and have access to national crime information systems such as NCIC, NGI, NICS, and N-DEx. DOJ does not discourage a tribe from using the state system for access.  Submissions are sent to national databases and not kept at the state level.

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A tribe has five agencies, each with their own Terminal Agency Coordinator (TAC), that access TAP and an employee with one of the agencies violates TAP use policy. Will the access to TAP for the entire tribe be at risk, or just the violating agency's access?

  • It depends of the extent and degree of the violation.  Generally, repercussions for violating CJIS Security policy would be at the individual user and  agency level, with the possibility of the Agency losing their ORI. For example, if a user uses the wrong purpose code for a III check, the agency would need to provide remedial training to address.

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Can the tribe Point of Contact and Terminal Agency Coordinator be the same person?

  • Yes. DOJ suggests making that determination based on the size of your agency. The larger your agency the more cumbersome this may be to have the same person in both roles. DOJ always recommends having an alternate for both positions.

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What serving model has been favored amongst the user feedback tribes?

  • Self-Servicing or Servicing Agency provides Criminal Justice Information to a Serviced Agency.

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Were there tribes in the user feedback phase that wanted only access to national crime information and not submit?

  • No. Tribes were chosen based on their need to do both query and enter of data into national crime information databases.

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