From the U.S. District Attorney for Montana
The Department of Justice has selected 12 other federally recognized tribes, including the Indian community of Fort Belknap in Montana, to participate in the expansion of the Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information – TAP – a program that provides governments tribal means to access, enter and exchange data with national crime information systems, including those maintained by the FBI’s Division of Criminal Justice Information Services and the States.
The Chippewa Cree tribe of the Rocky Boy Indian reservation, the Blackfeet tribe of the Blackfeet Indian reservation and the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of the Fort Peck Indian reservation have already been added to the tribes with access.
The Northern Cheyenne Tribe is a tribe serviced by the program agency, allowing law enforcement personnel from the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the Bureau of Justice Services to access the information service.
The application period for this recent round of selections began on July 1 and ended on August 31.
“Prompt access to federal criminal information can help protect victims of domestic violence, secure children in foster care, solve crimes, and apprehend fugitives on tribal lands, among other important uses.” Said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “Increasing tribal access to criminal databases is a priority for the Justice Department and this administration, and essential to many efforts by tribal governments to strengthen public safety in their communities. “
“We are delighted that the Indian community of Fort Belknap has been selected for the expansion of the Tribal Access Program,” Acting US Attorney Leif M. Johnson said. “This program will allow the tribes of Fort Belknap to enter and share information on missing persons in the national database of missing persons and to enter and exchange various other information with law enforcement through the country to help make the community safer.
The program offers training as well as biometric / biographical kiosk software and workstations for processing fingerprints, taking photos, and submitting information to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Service systems. Along with these additional tribes, 108 federally recognized tribes now participate in TAP.
TAP has been an important resource for the ministry’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Initiative and the Presidential Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives, known as Operation Lady Justice. . The Department of Justice launched the TAP in 2015 in response to concerns expressed by tribal leaders about the need for direct access to federal systems.
Using TAP, the tribes shared information about missing people; registered convicted sex offenders; entered domestic violence protection orders for nationwide enforcement; manage criminal history; fugitives identified and arrested; entry of reservations and convictions; and performed fingerprint-based record checks for purposes other than criminal justice, such as screening employees or volunteers who work with children.
The other tribes newly selected to participate in the TAP are:
• Confederate Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation
• Umpqua Cow Creek Band
• Music Grand Traverse of Ottawa and Chippewa
• Havasupai Tribe
• Lower Brule Sioux Tribe
• Menominee tribe
• Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
• Muckleshoot Tribe
• Passamaquoddy tribe
• Miwok Shingle Springs Band
• United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee
The TAP is managed by the Office of the Director of Information of the Department of Justice and the Office of Tribal Justice. It is funded by the Office of Sentencing, Supervision, Arrest, Registration and Follow-up of Sex Offenders), Office of Community Policing, Office for Victims of Acts criminals and the Office Against Violence Against Women.
For more information on TAP, people can visit http://www.justice.gov/tribal/tribal-access-program-tap.