Office of Justice Programs

Tribal Access Program (TAP)

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Tribes face unique challenges in information sharing and accessing federal databases, which impact law enforcement and public safety not only in Indian Country but in the 35 states in which tribal land is located. Tribes implementing the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) are particularly hampered as SORNA requires sex offender biometrics and biographical data be submitted into various federal databases, including the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR). The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) launched the Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information (TAP) in August 2015 to provide tribes access to national crime information systems for both criminal and civil purposes. TAP allows tribes to more effectively serve and protect their communities by ensuring the exchange of critical data across the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) systems and other national crime information systems.

To see what tribes are participating in TAP, view this map (PDF).


DOJ Serves as the CJIS Systems Agency (CSA) For Federally Recognized Tribes:

DOJ assumes responsibility for granting network access, extending the model used by federal agencies to tribes.

DOJ ensures personnel, IT, and physical security; vetting and on-boarding; testing; training; and auditing.

DOJ Provides Integrated Workstations:

Workstations feature a computer, palm and fingerprint scanner, camera, flatbed scanner, and printer to provide access to and enter data into national crime information systems.

DOJ Provides Enhanced Training and Assistance:

TAP provides online and in-person training and assists tribes in analyzing needs and identifying/providing appropriate solutions to maximize the value of national crime information

National Crime Information Systems

A criminal records database allowing criminal justice agencies to enter or search for information about stolen property, missing or wanted persons, and domestic violence protection orders; to get criminal histories; and to access the National Sex Offender Registry.

Formerly known as the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) – a database of palm and fingerprints and mugshots, allowing verification of identity, submissions of arrest information, and access to fingerprint-based criminal histories.

A national investigative information sharing system giving access to records from across the nation to aid in criminal investigations. Investigators can review criminal justice data from state, local, tribal, regional, and federal agencies, 24/7, from any secure Internet-capable device. Data includes incident reports, arrest reports, booking and incarceration reports, pre-trial investigations, and probation and parole records.

A system used by Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to determine a person’s eligibility to buy firearms or explosives, helping to ensure prohibited persons are prevented from purchasing firearms, and to issue firearms-related permits, and manage seized firearms.

A gateway for criminal justice agencies to access unclassified law enforcement intelligence products, as well as systems or services such as N-DEx, Intelink, the Regional Information Sharing Systems Network (RISSNET), National Gang Intelligence Center, eGuardian, Virtual Command Center, and others.

An interstate justice and public safety network owned by the states supporting inquiry into state systems for criminal history, driver’s license and motor vehicle registration, as well as supporting inquiry into federal systems, such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Law Enforcement Support Center, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Drug Pointer Index (NDPIX), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aircraft Registry, as well as the Government of Canada’s Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC).

TAP User Feedback Phase

In 2015, DOJ selected tribes to participate in the initial User Feedback Phase. Funded entirely by the SMART Office, this phase focused on testing DOJ’s technology solution and training support; it also enabled tribes to identify and share best practices regarding the use of national crime information databases to strengthen public safety.

In 2016, participating tribes received a kiosk workstation that provided access to national systems as well as training to support whole-of-government needs. User Feedback Phase tribes have elected to implement TAP in a variety of criminal and civil agencies. Those criminal agencies included police departments, prosecutors, criminal courts, jails, and probation departments. The civil agencies and programs that were eligible to use TAP included agencies whose staff have contact with or control over Indian children; public housing agencies; child support enforcement agencies; Head Start programs; civil agencies that investigate allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of children; civil courts that issue orders of protection, injunctions, restraining orders, or other keep away orders; and sex offender registration programs.

TAP adds value to tribal efforts to have orders of protection enforced off-reservation, protect children, keep guns out of the wrong hands, improve the safety of public housing, register sex offenders, and allow tribes to have tribal arrests and tribal convictions be associated with their tribe.

Beyond the User Feedback Phase

Because of the success of the TAP User Feedback Phase, DOJ expanded the program in 2017, 2018 and again in 2019 to include dozens more tribes located in over 20 states. The SMART Office continues to serve as a key funder and works closely with DOJ’s Office of the Chief Information Officer's technical assistance team to provide subject matter expertise on leveraging TAP services to complement and enhance tribal sex offender registration programs.

Requirements for Participation in TAP Implementation

To participate in TAP, tribes agree to comply with and adhere to auditing and policy requirements, personnel and physical requirements, and technical security requirements applied to all agencies when accessing national crime information systems. Tribes designate a coordinator/security officer who ensures all personnel with access adhere to all training and policy requirements. Tribes also agree to be audited by DOJ in accordance with policy.

Tribes must provide high-speed Internet access and pay any FBI CJIS User Fees associated with fingerprint-based and name-based checks for noncriminal justice purposes, executing a user fee Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CJIS to pay those fees. Additionally, tribal governments must make legislative or policy determinations that provide guidance to tribal courts and law enforcement about what tribal data is shared.

Tribal Access Program Presentation

To understand more about the Tribal Access Program and how TAP is providing access to National Crime Information download and read the presentation.

Watch the TAP workstation training video for tribal sex offender registration personnel.

Learn More About TAP


DOJ recognizes that some tribes have access to certain CJIS systems through state CSA networks. In that instance, DOJ encourages a three-way discussion with the tribe and the state CSA about their information needs.

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