Department of Justice and Department of Interior Team Up for Major Expansion of Tribal Access to National Crime Information Databases
The Miami Agency to Participate in the TAP Program in the Northern District of Oklahoma
WASHINGTON— The Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior announced a dramatic expansion of the federal government’s key program that provides tribes with access to national crime information databases, the Justice Department’s Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information (TAP).
Trent Shores, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma and Chairman of the Attorney General’s Advisory Subcommittee on Native American Issues, announced today that the Miami Agency will gain access to TAP through the Bureau of Indian Affairs-Office of Justice Services (BIA-OJS). The Miami Agency is located within the Northern District of Oklahoma. It services nine Federally recognized Tribes which include the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma; Miami Tribe of Oklahoma; Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma; Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma; Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma; Quapaw Tribe of Indians; Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma; Shawnee Tribe; and Wyandotte Nation.
In past years, the Cherokee and Wyandotte Nations, both located in the Northern District of Oklahoma, have also gained access to the program.
“As a pilot participant of the DOJ’s Tribal Access Program, the Cherokee Nation has greatly benefited from the collaboration. It has been advantageous not just to the tribal Marshal Service, but also to our non-criminal departments like Indian Child Welfare, Child Support Services and Human Resource departments,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “Access to the national crime information systems has allowed Cherokee Nation to expedite the placement of children by our ICW officials, speed up the tribe’s hiring process and better prepare our Child Support Services employees for court cases. All these advances are enabling us to improve services to Cherokee Nation citizens.”
This year, a total of 25 tribes have been selected to participate in the next phase of TAP while 28 BIA-OJS agencies, including detention centers, will now have access to TAP. Three more BIA-OJS agencies will have TAP kiosks installed for the dedicated purposes of vetting foster parents for Tribes within their service areas. Other tribes and agencies in Oklahoma included in this next phase of TAP are the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Tribes of Oklahoma, the Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, and the Anadarko Agency.
By the end of 2019, the Justice Department will expand the number of TAP participating tribes by more than 50 percent—from 47 tribes to 72. The Department of the Interior (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 U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “The Tribal Access Program 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 Native American Issues Subcommittee (NAIS) is comprised of United States 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 US 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 (CJIS) network, including the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), Next Generation Identification (NGI), National Data Exchange (N-DEx), National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal (LEEP) as well as other national systems such as the International Justice and Public Safety Network (Nlets). TAP enhances tribal efforts to register sex offenders pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA); 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 Justice Department’s work on tribal justice and public safety issues, visit: www.justice.gov/tribal