Community , Government

ON Police participating in federal crime data sharing program

The Osage Nation Police Department is housed in the Nation's Law Building on the ON campus in Pawhuska. Osage News file photo

The Osage Nation Police Department now has a kiosk to the federal Tribal Access Program to report and access criminal data across several national crime information systems.

In a Sept. 17 Osage Nation press release, ONPD announced its approval to utilize the Tribal Access Program, which was launched by the U.S. Department of Justice. The ON Grants Department submitted the project in January 2019 and ONPD was awarded the Tribal Access Program through the DOJ. This grant is not monetary, but the award was the Tribal Access Program and its kiosk. This grant increases sovereignty in several ways and allows direct access to enter information in federal systems without having to rely on a third party.

“In the past when someone received an ON tribal charge, that was the generic listing on booking reports,” said ON Police Chief Nick Williams, who added: “Now the TAP enables the specific charge(s) and the ability to follow criminals beyond borders of the Osage Nation.”

The release states the Nation will determine what information is entered. For example, "the proper information can prevent prohibited persons from buying firearms; to have other agencies enforce tribal orders of protection nationwide; to register sex offenders; to find missing persons including juveniles, or to recover stolen property. Tribes can also use the TAP kiosk to indicate the status of a person (wanted, missing, endangered, sex offender, gang member) or property (stolen, lost, or recovered).”

According to the Department of Justice website, various criminal agencies including probation/parole, criminal courts, prosecutor’s office, pretrial services and corrections can benefit from accessing national crime information through TAP.

For example, courts can conduct criminal history record checks of individuals arrested for domestic violence and stalking cases to support court decisions. Also, authorized non-criminal tribal government agencies (social services, foster care placement, schools and daycares, for example) can ensure children are safe by conducting fingerprint-based criminal history record checks on tribal employees, prospective employees, or volunteers in positions who have regular contact with or control over Indian children, according to the DOJ.

According to the release, other ON departments including Family Violence Prevention, Housing, Social Services, Education, work programs, and ON Employees are some that will benefit from the TAP implementation. Williams added, “We are also looking at the possibility of being able to complete background checks within the Nation itself without having other departments outsource to other companies.”

The DOJ website states there are currently 108 tribes with more than 350 tribal government agencies participating in TAP. For more information on TAP, visit: www.justice.gov/tribal/tribal-access-program-tap