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Advisory Policy Board

The CJIS Advisory Process: A Shared Management Concept

Overview of the CJIS Advisory Process

The FBI established the CJIS Division to serve as the focal point and central repository for criminal justice information services within the FBI. The CJIS Division assumed management responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), and the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. Since then, several new information sharing systems have been initiated or are under development. Currently, the CJIS Division is responsible for managing the following programs administered by the FBI for the benefit of local, state, tribal, federal, and foreign criminal justice agencies:

  • Next Generation Identification (NGI)
  • IAFIS
  • National Data Exchange (N-DEx)
  • Law Enforcement Online (LEO)
  • NCIC
  • National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)
  • UCR

The CJIS Division’s management responsibilities include the operation of existing systems and the development of new technologies. The FBI established the CJIS Advisory Process to obtain the user community’s advice and guidance on the development and operation of all of these programs. The philosophy underlying the advisory process is one of shared management; that is, the FBI along with local, state, tribal, and federal data providers and system users share responsibility for the operation and management of all systems administered by the FBI for the benefit of the criminal justice community.

FBI Director Louis J. Freeh established the CJIS Advisory Process in the fall of 1994 and installed the CJIS Advisory Policy Board (APB) on December 15, 1994. This new CJIS Advisory Process was established to provide advice and guidance on all CJIS Division programs and replaced the former NCIC Advisory Process (which operated from 1969 through 1994) and the former UCR Data Providers’ Advisory Policy Board (which operated from 1989 through 1994). The CJIS Advisory Process consists of two components, the Working Groups and the APB.

The CJIS Advisory Policy Board (APB)

The APB is responsible for reviewing appropriate policy, technical, and operational issues related to CJIS Division programs. Subsequent to their review, the Board makes recommendations to the Director of the FBI. The APB meets at least twice during each calendar year. A notice of these meetings is published in the Federal Register, and the meetings are conducted in open session unless determined otherwise by the Designated Federal Officer (DFO). The DFO is an FBI employee appointed by the FBI Director to serve as a management officer in coordinating, scheduling, and approving the Working Groups and APB meetings as well as other APB activities.

The APB is composed of 34 representatives from criminal justice agencies and national security agencies and organizations throughout the United States. The APB membership consists of the following:

Twenty members are selected by the members of the four regional Working Groups. Three state-level agency and two local-level agency representatives are recommended by each of the four Working Groups. These members must be the chief executives of local or state criminal justice agencies, or they must be at the policy-making level and have responsibility for the management of CJIS Division systems in their respective agencies.

Five members are selected by the FBI Director, one member each, representing the prosecutorial, judicial, and correctional sectors of the criminal justice community, a national security agency, and a tribal community representative.

One member is the chair of the Federal Working Group.

A member is selected by each of the following criminal justice professional associations to represent their respective associations: American Probation and Parole Association; International Association of Chiefs of Police; Major Cities Chiefs’ Association; Major County Sheriffs’ Association; National District Attorneys’ Association; National Sheriffs’ Association; American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, Inc.; and a representative from the courts or court administrators selected by the Conference of Chief Justices.

APB members serve a two-year term commencing during the APB meeting in December of even-numbered years, and they are eligible for reappointment.

Qualification and Duties of APB Officers

The officers of the APB include the chair, first vice chair and second vice chair.  The chair of the APB must be one of the state or local elected members of the APB.  The chair is the presiding officer at each meeting of the APB and has sufficient authority to act as official spokesperson in all matters relating to the APB.  The first and second vice chairs will act in this order in the absence of the chair.

The CJIS Advisory Policy Board Ad-Hoc Subcommittees

The Designated Federal Officer, in consultation with the Board Chair, with FBI approval, and in accordance with applicable law, may create ad hoc subcommittees as needed to assist the APB in carrying out its duties. Subcommittees are composed of APB members and other subject-matter specialists. The chair of the APB, in consultation with the DFO, may invite any quasi-governmental entity who is involved in CJIS Division activities to attend any meeting of the CJIS Subcommittees for the purpose of consultation or providing information.  Subcommittees are established to thoroughly review controversial policies, issues, program changes, and formulate alternatives and recommendations for the consideration of the entire APB. Currently, there are nine ad hoc subcommittees:

  • Bylaws Ad Hoc Subcommittee
  • Crisis Management Ad Hoc Subcommittee
  • Identification Services Ad Hoc Subcommittee
  • N-DEx Ad Hoc Subcommittee
  • NCIC Ad Hoc Subcommittee
  • Executive Ad Hoc Subcommittee
  • Compliance Evaluation Ad Hoc Subcommittee
  • Security and Access (SA) Ad Hoc Subcommittee
  • UCR Ad Hoc Subcommittee

The Bylaws Ad Hoc Subcommittee is responsible for evaluating any proposed changes to the Bylaws for the CJIS APB and Working Groups and recommending appropriate language with proper notice to the APB for approval.

The Crisis Management Ad Hoc Subcommittee provides input to the FBI’s Crisis Management procedures and the Operational Response and Investigative Online Network (ORION) which is sponsored by the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group.

The IS Ad Hoc Subcommittee addresses those issues pertaining to fingerprint and other biometric identification and criminal justice use of Criminal History Record Information. This Subcommittee is responsible for all projects related to the FBI’s fingerprint identification program, the IAFIS, the NICS, etc.

The N-DEx Ad Hoc Subcommittee reviews and evaluates the development of the N-DEx program and forwards analyses of issues relating to program and policy development to the APB.

The NCIC Ad Hoc Subcommittee addresses issues relating to the FBI’s NCIC program, including the current NCIC System.

The role of the Executive Ad Hoc Subcommittee is to review the issues being considered by the various CJIS Advisory Process Working Groups and Subcommittees and review topics, programs, and issues being addressed by other law enforcement professional associations/organizations such as the Global Advisory Committee, National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics, International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriffs’ Association, the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network Board, Major Cities Chiefs, Major County Sheriff’s, the Nlets - National International Justice and Public Safety Information Sharing Network and other federal agencies.  In addition, this Subcommittee reviews current events in the criminal justice and information processing arena and then formulates a strategic plan for the future of the CJIS Division systems and the CJIS Advisory Process. The Public Safety Strategy Subcommittee is composed of the chair of the APB and the chairs of the other ad hoc subcommittees.

The Compliance Evaluation Ad Hoc Subcommittee is responsible for evaluating the results of audits conducted of participants in the CJIS Division programs. The Subcommittee makes specific recommendations to the APB concerning sanctions that should be imposed against agencies that are not in compliance with the policies established by the APB for the operation of the CJIS Division programs.

The SA Ad Hoc Subcommittee is responsible for reviewing the hardware and software security policy for current CJIS Division computer systems as well as those systems under development. The Subcommittee recommends to the APB a security policy governing the FBI’s CJIS Division systems as well as those systems interfaced with the CJIS Division’s computers and telecommunication systems. In addition, this Subcommittee reviews issues related to the requests from agencies and organizations wanting access to information contained in the CJIS Division programs.

The UCR Ad Hoc Subcommittee is responsible for reviewing issues concerning the UCR Summary System as well as the National Incident-Based Reporting System, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, and Hate Crimes.

The Subcommittees typically meet twice a year and their meetings are closed to the public. The Subcommittee chair coordinates with the CJIS Training and Advisory Process (CTAP) Unit to identify proposed topics and prepare the agendas for the meetings. At the conclusion of the Subcommittee meetings, the CTAP will forward proposals directly to the APB for consideration.

In addition to these Subcommittees, other short-term task forces are established on an “as-needed” basis.

The CJIS APB Working Groups

The Working Groups review operational, policy, and technical issues related to CJIS Division programs and policies and make recommendations to the APB or one of its subcommittees. All fifty states, as well as, U.S. territories and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are organized into five Working Groups as follows:

North Central
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin

Northeastern
Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts,
New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Southern
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, West Virginia

Western
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada,
New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

Federal
Federal agencies that participate in CJIS Division programs form a Federal Working Group.  This Working Group is comprised of representatives from any federal agency that participates in any of the CJIS Division programs and includes one tribal law enforcement representative chosen by the U.S. Department of Interior.  The number of agencies represented fluctuates based upon current functional needs.

The four regional Working Groups are composed of one state-level agency representative,  one local-level agency representative from each state, and one tribal law enforcement representative from each region.  In addition, the FBI Director, at his discretion, may designate one additional representative to each of the five Working Groups.  The state-level representative is selected by the administrator of each state’s CJIS Systems Agency (CSA).  (A CSA is a criminal justice agency that has overall responsibility for the administration and usage of the CJIS Division programs within a state, district, territory, or foreign country.  This includes any federal agency that meets the definition and provides services to other federal agencies and/or whose users reside in multiple states or territories.)  There will be no more than one CSA per state, district, territory, or foreign country.

The CSA is responsible for planning and providing necessary hardware, software, funding, quality assurance, and training for complete access to all CJIS Division data services by all authorized agencies within the state.

The CSO is responsible for monitoring system use, enforcing system discipline, and assuring that operating procedures are followed by all users as well as other related duties. The CSO should have operational and technical expertise in CJIS Division systems and sufficient authority to represent state interests when voting on issues.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police or the National Sheriffs’ Association, along with the state chiefs’ or sheriffs’ association coordinates the selection of the local-level agency representatives. Local representatives are management-level personnel from a law enforcement agency and are authorized users of CJIS Division systems. The District of Columbia, Guam, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands also have one representative each. The Working Groups typically meet twice a year, and their meetings are closed to the public. Working Group chairs coordinate with the CJIS Division’s CTAP Unit to identify proposed topics and prepare the agendas for the Working Group meetings.  At the conclusion of the Working Group meetings, the CTAP Unit forwards proposals either to one of the APB’s ad hoc subcommittees or directly to the APB for consideration. Attendance at Working Group meetings, because of their nature and function, is restricted to persons directly involved in CJIS Working Group matters. The chair of the APB, in consultation with the DFO, may invite any governmental or quasi-governmental entity who is involved in CJIS Division activities to attend any meeting of the CJIS Working Groups for the purpose of consultation or providing information.

Working Group Chair Responsibilities

The chair of each Working Group will: 

  • Preside over the Working Group meetings.
  • Coordinate with the DFO all administrative matters relating to his/her Working Group.
  • Assure representation of the Working Groups at Board and related CJIS meetings. 
  • Keep the Working Group members informed of CJIS Division matters.
  • Write to Working Group members who do not attend meetings to advise them of the importance of their attendance and remind them of the Bylaw provisions concerning meeting attendance. 
  • Submit written notification of the failure of a Working Group member’s attendance to the appropriate governing body as determined by the DFO and Working Group Chair and, when necessary, initiate the process of replacing a Working Group member who fails to attend. 

Local Agency Representatives Responsibilities

  1. Represent the interests of the CJIS Advisory Process during meetings/conferences with criminal justice agency representatives in their states in order to solicit topics for discussion to improve the CJIS Division systems.
  2. Represent the views of all local agencies in their state on issues being addressed during Working Group meetings (e.g., establishing a network to share topic papers to seek opinions of other agencies in their states).

State Agency Responsibilities

  1. Represent the views of the CSA concerning issues being addressed during Working Group meetings. (e.g., distribute topics to CSA entities to evaluate proposed changes, impacts on state system, and impact on the CSA).
  2. Represent the views of all agencies in the state on issues being addressed during Working Group meetings (e.g., distribute topics via intrastate Wide Area Network, state users’ group meetings, etc).

The CJIS Training and Advisory Process (CTAP) Unit

The CTAP Unit is responsible for the detailed planning, staffing, administration, and coordination of the CJIS Advisory Process which is composed of the APB, the APB’s Subcommittees, the CJIS Working Groups, and other ad hoc committees and task forces. In this role, the CTAP Unit ensures that the Advisory Process operates within the rules and regulations set forth in the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), Title 5, United States Code, Appendix, and the Bylaws for the APB and Working Groups.

The CTAP Unit maintains the schedules for all APB, Subcommittee, Working Group, and task force meetings. These responsibilities include developing meeting agendas through coordination with other CJIS Division offices, other FBI entities, other Government agencies, and the customers of the CJIS Division programs; preparing meeting announcements for publication in the Federal Register in accordance with the requirements of the FACA; securing government-rate lodging and transportation for meeting attendees; ensuring that members file proxy notices as required by the Bylaws; preparing minutes of the meetings; preparing and submitting vouchers for attendee reimbursement; maintaining budget information for CJIS Division budget planning purposes and reporting requirements of the FACA; and preparing appropriate correspondence to the Director to apprise him of APB recommendations on agenda items and to secure his concurrence with these recommendations.

The CTAP Unit maintains up-to-date membership lists for the APB, the APB’s Subcommittees, the CJIS Working Groups, and other ad hoc committees and task forces. The Unit assists other CJIS Division entities hosting meetings when the presence of criminal justice community representatives is required.

Taking Advantage of the Advisory Process

Procedures for Submitting Ideas or Proposals through the Advisory Process

  1. Topics for discussion at CJIS Working Group meetings may be submitted at any time. The CTAP Unit sends a solicitation for agenda items biannually. This solicitation is sent to all Advisory Process Members with a 30-day deadline for submission of topics.
  2. The topic should be submitted in writing and should include:
    • Clear statement of request.
    • How the subject of the topic is handled now (or description of problem being solved).
    • Suggested solution.
    • Scenario/example.
    • Benefit(s) to the criminal justice community.
    • Impact on state or local agencies, users and systems if known.
    • Importance.
    • Contact person.

The magnitude of any problem must be explained in order to set a priority in
getting a change made.

  1. Proposals can be submitted the following three ways:
  • State and local agencies submit proposals to the CSO for their state or CSA. (Since many states operate programs similar to those operated by the CJIS Division, and since some of the state programs operate differently than the national programs, the CSO is responsible for reviewing the proposal to determine whether it affects the state program, the national program, or both.  Some federal agencies access the CJIS Division programs through a state network while others access via federal network.  Federal employees who wish to submit a proposal should forward it to either the state or federal CSO or CSA as appropriate.)  Proposals are forwarded from the CSO or CSA to the Working Group chair.
  • State Identification Bureaus may submit topic proposals to the CSO or directly to the CJIS Division.
  • Professional organizations submit topic proposals directly to the CJIS Division.
  1. Proposals are forwarded to the CTAP Unit.  FBI staff analyzes each proposal and makes a determination as to whether it will be a topic for the next round of Advisory Process meetings. The Working Group chairs coordinate the agenda for the Working Group meetings with the CTAP Unit.
  2. Proposed changes to the CJIS Division programs are first discussed by the

Working Group component of the CJIS Advisory Process.

  1. At the conclusion of the Working Group meeting, the CTAP Unit will coordinate and forward proposals, either to one of the APB ad hoc subcommittees, or directly to
    the APB for consideration.
  2. Once a proposal has been reviewed and discussed by the APB, the APB’s recommendation will be forwarded to the FBI Director.
  3. If the FBI Director concurs with an APB recommendation to implement a change, the staff from the CJIS Division will take the necessary action to implement the
    change and notify the Advisory Process members.

Agenda and Topic Paper Distribution

The agenda and topic papers for a meeting are distributed at least 21 days prior to a meeting. An electronic copy of the complete topic paper packet in portable document format (pdf) is e-mailed to all attendees.  In addition, the agenda and topic papers are posted to the CJIS Division LESIG site on the LEO. LEO is easily accessed to share information if there are size restrictions or security procedures in place on an agency’s e-mail system that prevent receipt of the topic papers as an e-mail attachment.

LEO is a 24-hour a day, seven days a week “on-line” (real-time) controlled-access data repository. LEO provides a focal point for electronic communication, education, and information sharing for the law enforcement, criminal justice, and public safety communities nationwide. LEO is provided free of charge and is only available to persons duly employed by a law enforcement, criminal justice, or public safety agency/department, and whose position requires secure communication with other agencies. LEO is accessed through the Internet using a regular Internet Service Provider. To ensure all information exchanges are secure, a Virtual Private Network has been implemented.

In addition to agenda and topic paper distribution, the CJIS Division uses LEO as an electronic communication link with the CJIS Advisory Process members to disseminate various articles of interest (e.g., APB and Working Group Bylaws, calendar of scheduled meetings, and meeting minutes).

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