GM 16-065

Department of Justice to Expand Tribal Access Program to National Crime Information

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that they are expanding the opportunity for tribes to participate in the Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information (TAP). This program provides the training and tools necessary for tribal law enforcement access to national crime information data bases, such as the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), for both law enforcement and certain civil purposes. Tribes who have either an Adam Walsh Act Sex Offender Registry or a tribal law enforcement agency may apply. A letter or resolution from the tribe’s governing body must be submitted to by December 2, 2016. The attached DOJ news release details what must be included in the letter or resolution.

The lack of tribal access to federal criminal information databases has been a long-standing problem for Indian tribes and their law enforcement agencies. The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 requires the U.S. Attorney General to permit tribal and BIA law enforcement agencies to access, enter information into, and obtain information from, federal criminal information databases. It also requires that in order to access these databases, tribal law enforcement officials must meet “applicable federal or state requirements”.

The TAP expansion is phase two of this program. We reported on the initial phase in our General Memorandum 15-062 of August 25, 2015. DOJ chose nine tribes to participate in the initial phase (termed the User Feedback Phase) and provided specialized training, technical
assistance and state-of-the-art biometric/biographic computer work stations. The current DOJ solicitation does not indicate a limit on the number of tribes who might participate in this next phase of the program. Examples of law enforcement uses include documenting tribal arrests and tribal court dispositions, access to investigative records and officer safety-related information. Civil purposes include background investigations of persons having contact or control over Indian children; responding to allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation of children; background investigations on public housing; entering orders of protection; and registering sex offenders. During the first phase, DOJ indicates that tribal agencies have used TAP for numerous investigative uses; fingerprint checks; preventing inappropriate gun transfers; entering orders of protection; and registering sex offenders.

Under TAP the Department of Justice:

• Assumes responsibility for granting network access, extending to tribes the model used by federal agencies;
• Ensures security and other training, onboarding/vetting (agency and individual users), testing and auditing;
• Provides integrated workstations which feature a computer, palm/fingerprint scanner, camera, flatbed scanner and printer; and
• Provides online and in-person training and assists tribes in evaluating needs relative to accessing national crime information.

The schedule for this expanded phase of TAP is:

• Expression of Interest Submission October 24-December 2, 2016
• Notification of Selection December 16, 2016
• Onboarding and Vetting January 9-May 31, 2017
• Deployment May 9-September 29, 2017

The DOJ website has a great deal of information on TAP which may be accessed here:

Please let us know if we may provide additional information or assistance regarding the Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information.