Hoeven: Department of Justice to Enhance Tribal Access to National Crime Information Databases

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, who serves on the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched the initial phase of the Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information (TAP) to allow tribes to access national crime information databases for criminal and civil purposes.

“The Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information will help tribal law enforcement access databases that are critical to helping solve crimes and keeping law enforcement officers and communities safe,” Hoeven said. “This is a good tool that will empower tribes to enhance public safety, assist victims of crime and ultimately help to keep tribal communities safe. I will continue working to strengthen public safety in our state and make sure that all North Dakotans, whether living on or off a reservation, reside in safe and healthy communities.”

TAP will help tribes analyze their needs for national crime information and assist them in finding appropriate solutions, including a state-of-the-art biometric/biographic computer workstation that can process finger and palm prints, take mugshots and submit records to national databases, as well as enable them to access Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) systems through the DOJ.                          

Previously, various regulations and statutes weakened the ability of tribes to fully participate in national criminal justice information sharing through state networks. TAP removes the red tape and creates a partnership between tribal agencies and national crime information databases, which will free the flow of information and strengthen safety in tribal communities.

Hoeven has worked through his role on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee to secure funding that will enhance public safety and justice in tribal communities. In June, he announced that the Fiscal Year 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill provided more than $377 million in support for the Public Safety and Justice Program, which is comprised of Law Enforcement, Tribal Courts and Fire Protection. It also provided funding to support police and investigative services on reservations.

Also in June, the Senate passed the Native American Children’s Safety Act, legislation Hoeven authored and introduced to implement protections for Native American children placed by tribal courts into the tribal foster care system.