The United States Department of Justice has announced the expansion of the Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information (TAP). TAP will allow the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe Tribes of the Wind River Reservation to more effectively protect its citizens through the exchange of critical information across several national crime information systems. The program was launched in August of 2015 and served forty-seven tribes across the country.
The Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes have been selected for TAP FULL access. The Wind River Indian Reservation will receive two kiosks to access NCIC and other national databases. The Northern Arapaho Tribe will place its kiosk in the Wind River Sex Offender Registration and Notification (“WRSORNA”) Office, giving WRSORNA Director Kendra Smith the ability to retrieve background information about convicted sex offenders at the time of registration and enter the sex offender’s information into the nationwide NCIC database. Director Smith stated that the Department of Justice’s Tribal Access Program (TAP) expansion will provide approved entities, such as tribal probation, human resources, child support, child protection services, and schools the ability to request information from the nationwide databases that is important to public and community safety.
The Eastern Shoshone Tribe will locate its kiosk within its Human Resources office. Council Member Leslie Shakespeare, of the Eastern Shoshone Business Council, stated, “The Eastern Shoshone Tribe is excited to be able to participate in the Department of Justice’s Tribal Access Program. Having the ability to have access and share criminal information will undoubtedly enhance our human resource, family service, child support, and judicial departments for the safety and benefit of our tribal members and communities as a whole.”
“I am pleased that the Northern Arapahoe and Eastern Shoshone tribes are planning to participate in the Tribal Access Program to allow sharing of national crime information databases,” said United States Attorney Mark Klaassen. “My hope is that deployment of this program in the coming months will further strengthen our partnership with the tribes and promote safe and healthy communities in Indian country.”
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 installation 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 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.
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.