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Press Release

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR TEAM UP FOR MAJOR EXPANSION OF TRIBAL ACCESS TO NATIONAL CRIME INFORMATION DATABASES

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maine
Penobscot Nation to Participate in the TAP Program in District of Maine

WASHINGTON:  United States Attorney Halsey B. Frank joined the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of the Interior (DOI) in announcing a dramatic expansion of the federal government’s key program that provides tribes with access to national crime information databases, DOJ’s Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information (TAP). The expansion includes the Penobscot Nation.

“I am pleased that the Penobscot Nation will have access to the FBI’s national crime databases through TAP,” said U.S. Attorney Frank.  “The ability to access and exchange crime information is extremely valuable.  It will enable tribal government to better investigate criminal activity, police their community, and keep their community safe.”

“Access to TAP-FULL, will equip the Penobscot Nation Law Enforcement Program with the means to effectively collaborate with all local and state law enforcement agencies, by informing them of persons that are needing protection orders served upon them, getting an accurate account to other agencies of the persons that have been arrested for criminal offenses with the tribe’s jurisdiction and that are out on bail with restrictions and those persons adjudicated and have certain probation conditions they have to abide by,” said Department of Public Safety Chief Robert Bryant.  “TAP will also allow us to better protect victims of domestic violence by having orders of abuse or harassment entered into National Crime Information Center (NCIC) in a timely manner. The result is a safer community.”

By the end of 2019, DOJ will expand the number of TAP participating tribes by more than 50 percent—from 47 tribes to 72.  DOI will fund the instillation of TAP Kiosks at three locations where the BIA-Office of Indian Services (BIA-OIS) deliver direct service social services by the end of 2019 and DOI aims to expand TAP access at all 28 BIA-Office of Justice Services (BIA-OJS) operated law enforcement agencies and detention service centers.  These BIA locations will provide some degree of access to TAP for services delivered to more than 50 tribal communities that currently do not have any direct access. 

“Access to information is vital to effective law enforcement,” said Trent Shores, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma and the Chairman of the Attorney General’s Native American Issues Subcommittee (NAIS).  “TAP will enhance and improve the ability of tribal law enforcement officers to serve their communities. The Native American Issues Subcommittee is proud to support the continued expansion of this tool throughout Indian Country.”

The NAIS is comprised of U.S. Attorneys with Indian Country in their federal districts. They advise the Attorney General regarding the development and implementation of policies pertaining to justice in Indian Country. The NAIS identified “increased law enforcement resources” as one of four priority areas to improve justice services in Indian Country. Support for and increased dissemination of the TAP was unanimously supported by the U.S. Attorneys at a recent NAIS meeting in Indian Country in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

TAP, offered in two versions, TAP-FULL and TAP-LIGHT, allows tribes to more effectively serve and protect their communities by fostering the exchange of critical data through several national databases through the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Systems network, including the NCIC, Next Generation Identification, National Data Exchange, National Instant Criminal Background Check System, Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal as well as other national systems such as the International Justice and Public Safety Network.   TAP enhances tribal efforts to register sex offenders pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act; have orders of protection enforced nationwide; protect children; keep firearms away from persons who are disqualified from receiving them; improve the safety of public housing, and allow tribes to enter their arrests and convictions into national databases.

TAP-FULL consists of a kiosk workstation that provide access to national systems and is capable of processing finger and palm prints, as well as taking mugshots and submitting records to national databases. TAP-LIGHT is software for criminal agencies that include police departments, prosecutors, criminal courts, jails, and probation departments. Both versions provide federally recognized tribes the ability to access and exchange data with national crime information databases for both civil and criminal purpose.  TAP is currently available to 47 tribes nationwide with over 220 tribal criminal justice and civil agencies participating.

For more information on TAP, including a list and map of present TAP-FULL and TAP-LIGHT tribes, visit www.justice.gov/tribal/tribal-access-program-tap

For more information about the DOJ’s work on tribal justice and public safety issues, visit:  www.justice.gov/tribal.

Contact

F. Todd Lowell
Assistant United States Attorney
Tel: (207) 945-0373

Updated October 23, 2018

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