Community , Legal

Osage Nation selected for TAP expansion for information sharing with national crime databases

The U.S. Department of Justice has selected 30 Native American tribes to participate in the expansion of the Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information (TAP), a program that provides federally recognized tribes the ability to access and exchange data with national crime information databases for both criminal and non-criminal justice purposes.  

The Osage Nation is among those tribes selected for the next phase of TAP in the Northern District of Oklahoma. Other selected tribes are the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

“The Tribal Access Program is strengthening tribal governance and public safety in tribal communities across the United States,” Attorney General William P. Barr said in a statement. “TAP provides law enforcement and tribal governments real-time access to data that can help locate a missing person, identify a dangerous fugitive or prevent a domestic abuser from obtaining a gun, among many other important functions. The Trump administration is committed to fixing these public safety gaps and serving victims in Indian Country. I believe the expansion of this law enforcement tool will prove to be critical in achieving those goals.”

TAP is currently deployed to more than 75 tribes across the country with over 300 participating tribal justice agencies, including Cherokee Nation, Wyandotte Nation, and Miami Agency (Bureau of Indian Affairs) in the Northern District of Oklahoma, according to the DOJ. The TAP program provides software to enable tribes to access national crime information databases and/or a kiosk-workstation that provides the ability to submit and query fingerprint-based transactions via FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Next Generation Identification (NGI) System. 

This fifth expansion of TAP is part of the Justice Department’s continuing focus on public safety in American Indian and Alaska Native communities, allowing tribes to more effectively serve and protect their communities by ensuring the exchange of critical data with federal and state databases.

On Nov. 22, Barr launched a national strategy to address the issues surrounding missing and murdered Native Americans, and TAP provides the ability for participating tribes to exchange data with FBI CJIS, including data on missing persons from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), according to the DOJ. TAP enhances tribal efforts to register sex offenders pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), have orders of protection enforced off-reservation, protect children, keep firearms away from persons who are disqualified from receiving them, improve safety within public housing, and allows tribes to record their arrests and convictions in national databases.

“The expansion of the Tribal Access Program, or TAP, in northern Oklahoma is great news. Expanding TAP into rural areas where law enforcement may have limited resources, allows officers to more effectively provide for the safety of tribal citizens,” U.S. Attorney Trent Shores of the Northern District of Oklahoma said in a statement. “TAP is a critical information sharing tool that allows tribal law enforcement to efficiently access and share data in order to bring perpetrators of crime to justice. Moreover, the program can be an invaluable tool to enhance local and tribal law enforcement’s ability to find missing indigenous persons.”

For more information on TAP, visit www.justice.gov/tribal/tribal-access-program-tap.  

For more information about the Justice Department’s work on tribal justice, public safety issues and victim services, visit www.justice.gov/tribal