The Department of Justice is pleased to announce the opening of the application period for federally recognized Tribes and intertribal consortia to participate in the Tribal Access Program (TAP) for National Crime Information, which provides federally recognized Tribes the ability to access and exchange data with national crime information databases for authorized criminal justice and non-criminal justice purposes.
“The Tribal Access Program (TAP) is a proven and powerful tool for Tribal police officers, government and court officials to investigate crimes, keep children safe and hold domestic violence offenders accountable, among other important uses,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. “As TAP continues to expand, more Tribes will be able to protect their communities by participating in this successful program.”
The program provides training as well as software and biometric/biographic kiosk workstations to process fingerprints, take mugshots and submit information to FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) systems. There are currently 108 federally recognized Tribes participating in TAP. The department will accept TAP applications from July 1 – Aug. 31. Tribes selected to participate will be notified in September.
“The Tribal Access Program has allowed our Tribe to more effectively serve and protect its citizens by being able to prevent individuals from illegally purchasing firearms, and ensuring its personal protection orders are entered into federal databases, making their existence known, not only in Indian country, but across the nation,” said Court Administrator/Magistrate Traci L. Swan of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. “Obtaining fingerprint-based checks… has allowed our Tribe to expedite placement of our children in safe foster care homes.”
For Tribes that are considering applying, TAP staff will be conducting informational webinars describing the program and its capabilities. Webinars will be offered throughout the month of July and August. For more information about TAP, including our webinar dates, times and access information, visit www.justice.gov/tribal/tribal-access-program-tap.
Using TAP, Tribes have shared information about missing persons; entered domestic violence orders of protection for nationwide enforcement; registered convicted sex offenders; run criminal histories; arrested fugitives; entered bookings and convictions; and completed fingerprint-based record checks for non-criminal justice purposes such as screening employees or volunteers who work with children.
“Prior to receiving the system our community had no direct access to the services the TAP program provides,” said Chief of Police Bruce R. Janes for The Metlakatla Indian Community. “Being the only reservation in Alaska and a remote community on an island the TAP program has provided independence for our community and Police Department giving us the ability [to] be self-sufficient with the vast programs available with TAP.”
The department offers TAP services through one of the following two methods:
- TAP-LIGHT: Provides software that enables full access (both query and entry capabilities) to national crime information databases including the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the Interstate Identification Index (III), and the International Justice and Public Safety Network (Nlets) for criminal justice purposes.
- TAP-FULL: In addition to the basic access capabilities of TAP-LIGHT, provides a kiosk workstation that enables the ability to submit and query fingerprint-based transactions via FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) system for both criminal justice and non-criminal justice purposes.
Because of the program’s funding sources, eligible Tribes must have — and agree to use TAP for — at least one of the following:
- A Tribal sex offender registry authorized by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act;
- A Tribal law enforcement agency that has arrest powers;
- A Tribal court that issues orders of protection; or
- A Tribal government agency that screens individuals for foster care placement or that investigates allegations of child abuse/neglect.
TAP is funded by the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART); the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS); the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC); and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). TAP is co-managed by the department’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) and Office of Tribal Justice (OTJ).