The N-DEx Community’s Information Source
Interstate N-DEx Success
The right information in the right hands right now
An October 2011 criminal case out of Hodgeman County, Kansas involving the recovery of a stolen handgun illustrates the power and value of information sharing.
It began in 2010 when police officers in Killeen, Texas were notified by a local resident that his .45 caliber Glock handgun had been stolen from his home. The victim accused a former roommate of the theft. Police could not locate the suspect, who had left the area, and the case went dormant.
Smack dab in the middle of the country, an equal distance to either shore, is Hodgeman County, Kansas. In this small Midwestern county with only four full-time officers, an investigation was underway into a suspected felon, a parole absconder from Texas. The suspect’s true identity had been concealed by his partner and things just weren’t adding up. Their lifestyle didn’t match the jobs they held, as they were clearly living far beyond their means. Suspicions about the two men dovetailed into a joint investigation with the Dodge City, Kansas Police Department involving the embezzlement of $200,000 from a Dodge City business. As a result of the investigation, state and federal search warrants were executed.
During a search of the primary suspect’s workplace, officers located a .45 caliber Glock handgun. It was suspected that the weapon was stolen; however it had never been entered as stolen in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) records system.
Sheriff Ron Ridley searched the suspects’ names through N-DEx, the nation’s investigative information sharing system. N-DEx returned information listing the primary suspect’s name on that 2010 offense report from Killeen, Texas naming the Kansas suspect as the possible thief of a .45 caliber Glock. Sheriff Ridley contacted his investigative counterpart at the Dodge City Police Department, Detective Mike Robbins, who was in possession of the firearm. The firearm’s serial number traced to the person from whom the Texas theft victim had purchased the .45 Glock. Since the Texas victim had accused the Kansas suspect of the theft, who had been in possession of that very weapon, the definitive link was established.
The stolen firearm will eventually be returned to its rightful owner, another case was closed in Texas, and a criminal now sitting in the Kansas State Penitentiary is facing additional criminal charges in Texas upon his release. Once again, a simple name check demonstrated the power of sharing information.
N-DEx Plays Pivotal Role in Kansas Human Trafficking Incident
N-DEx proved itself invaluable in assisting a Kansas State Trooper in determining that the driver of a vehicle he stopped late one Friday evening was actually involved in human trafficking. After a routine traffic stop, the Trooper discovered that the vehicle in question contained 11 individuals who were not native English speakers. Based on his experience and the circumstances at the scene, the Trooper suspected that he was witnessing a case of human trafficking. The driver spoke very limited English, possessed a valid driver’s license, and was unable to produce any immigration documents. He also denied any previous adverse immigration related events. The Trooper was able to conduct an on-site search of N-DEx through the state information sharing system, utilizing the driver’s name and date of birth. N-DEx quickly returned pivotal information about the driver to include records on his previous convictions for alien smuggling and other crimes, several aliases, and very importantly, booking photos that enabled the Trooper to positively identify the driver as the convicted human trafficker in the N-DEx records. With that information readily in hand, the Trooper was able to solicit the assistance of Special Agents with the Department of Homeland Security who subsequently charged the driver with human trafficking and aggravated re-entry. The passengers were safely returned to their country of origin.
Send your N-DEx In Action story to the Program Office. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dept. of Homeland Security:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now a searchable external data source within N-DEx. N-DEx users have access to over 38 million DHS records. The DHS interface can be found under the External Filters search area.
Criminal Justice Agencies: Beginning June 16, 2012, criminal justice agencies will be able to participate in N-DEx. N-DEx welcomes criminal justice agencies to contribute data and to participate as users.
Build 12.0.0: Significant system enhancements accompanied Build 12.0.0, which deployed June 2, 2012.
User Satisfaction Survey:
Please give us your feedback in this short survey. http://ndexsurvey.notlong.com
New Data Sources: The recent additions of two data contributors, Southwest Virginia Multi-Joint Drug Task Force and Nevada Attorney General’s Office, bring the total number of N-DEx Data Sources to 40.
Supervisory Special Agent Michael Haas has assumed the position of Unit Chief/Program Manager for the N-DEx Program Office. Mr. Haas entered sworn duty with the FBI in 1996. His areas of expertise include narcotics enforcement, counterterrorism and national security. He has been with the N-DEx program since September 2010.
Introducing the N-DEx Participation Resource Center
I n an effort to better serve the user community, N-DEx recently launched the Participation Resource Center (PRC), an N-DEx-specific website housed on the FBI’s website. The PRC is a collection of documents providing CSOs and criminal justice agencies the documentation necessary to facilitate activities required for participating in N-DEx. Within the PRC users will find helpful manuals, guides, and reference materials.
Visit the PRC at: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/n-dex
Email your suggestions, ideas or user tips to email@example.com
Simplified N-DEx Access
In an effort to continue to make N-DEx more accessible and easier to use, securing N-DEx Access has been simplified. The process is now much shorter with fewer steps. The new steps to access are:
1. Obtain a LEO membership. Applications can be found via the LEO website at www.leo.gov.
2. Login to LEO.
3. Locate the N-DEx icon on the bottom right of the LEO homepage in the “Spotlights” section and click the “Request N-DEx Access” link.
4. Click the Federal, State or Tribal link corresponding to your agency.
5. Locate your sub-SIG (listed alphabetically) and click “Request Access.”
6. Click the “I Meet the Criteria” link.
In the text field, it is mandatory to enter supervisor’s name, supervisor’s phone number and agency’s ORI.
If you receive a message stating you do not meet the criteria for N-DEx access, please call LEO Technical Support at 888.334.4536 and provide your NCIC Originating Agency Identifier (ORI). You may then return to request access to N-DEx.
7. Click “Submit” to forward your request to the sub-SIG moderator.
The moderator will review your request. When your request access is approved, an email will be sent to your LEO account alerting you that your N-DEx account is now accessible.
N-DEx Program Office: 304.625.4242
CJIS Help Desk: 304.625.4357
N-DEx Webpage: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/n-dex
March 5, 2012
External Data Sources Available in N-DEx
In keeping with the ever increasing effort to bolster information sharing within the criminal justice community, N-DEx is adding millions of searchable records via external data sources.
By adding this vital piece of functionality to the information sharing puzzle, N-DEx can now leverage additional data sources to provide a one-stop search capability.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Law Enforcement Information Sharing (LEIS) Service is now a searchable data source via the N-DEx portal. This action will provide an additional 38 million records to N-DEx users, and will provide 800 DHS users with access to N-DEx. Based upon current query rates, users are projected to perform an additional 22,000 queries per month with a growth rate of 10 to 20 percent each year.
The DHS data source will allow users to run searches on two specific N-DEx targeted search types — People and Locations.
The LEIS Service draws its available data from two source systems — the Traveler Enforcement Compliance System (TECS) database and Enforcement Case Tracking System (ENFORCE).
TECS includes subjects handled by both Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) during the past 10 years. It includes information derived from the agencies’ following business activities: ICE investigative case management; information reporting and dissemination; CBP processing passengers at air, land, and sea ports of entry; and maintaining a watch list for DHS agencies.
ENFORCE is the front-end software application used to access the Enforcement Integrated Database, a DHS shared common database repository for ICE, CBP, and US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is used to capture and aintain information related to the arrest, booking, and removal of persons encountered during immigration and criminal law enforcement investigations and operations. Information from these systems help the ENFORCE user gain a comprehensive look at apprehension booking, alien detention, and alien removal. It also includes biographic data on the subjects along with their photos.
The importance of this effort is obvious, because it gives N-DEx the opportunity to access the vast resources of the DHS LEIS Service. The LEIS Service enables DHS law enforcement agents and analysts to look for non-obvious relationship atterns among individuals and organizations that are indicative of violations of the customs and immigration laws enforced by DHS agencies, as well as possible terrorist threats and plots.
For instance, a local police officer will now have access to DHS LEIS Service data when researching a subject and will be able to query potential terrorist connections through the database. Likewise, a DHS law enforcement agent using N-DEx will have access to all of the local, state, tribal and federal resources of N-DEx to strengthen their investigation.
Thus, both DHS and N-DEx users will have access to data that would otherwise require multiple user accounts for access.
This service is currently available on the N-DEx portal. Logical Entity Exchange Specification-Search and Retrieval (LEXS-SR) users will have access to this option in the near future.
N-DEx Program Manager Jeffrey Lindsey says, “This enhancement increases both the efficiency and value of N-DEx while enabling users to more finely tune their searches. The DHS partnership also helps fulfill the federal government’s commitment to share equally with its partners through N-DEx” The N-DEx interface will reflect this change in the External Filters area as seen in the graphic. External data source searches are not integrated with other N-DEx results.
For more information about N-DEx, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 304.625.HELP (4357).
DHS is an external data source in the N-DEx System. Searches using this data must be targeted to N-DEx People and Location searches.
May 17, 2012
Criminal Justice Agencies to Participate in N-DEx
In June 2011, the CJIS Advisory Policy Board (APB) endorsed a modification to the N-DEx Policy and Operating Manual which expands participation in N-DEx to particular criminal justice agencies in addition to the already participating law enforcement agencies. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III, signed the modified access into policy in November 2011.
The inclusion of these agencies allows the collaboration and sharing of documents throughout the criminal justice community. N-DEx users will see the benefit of increased opportunities to locate investigative information and added correlations between entities such as persons, addresses/locations, and items or property.
Criminal justice agencies will be allowed access to N-DEx based upon the ninth character of their Originating Agency Identifier (ORI). These additional agencies include: correctional institutions, courts/magistrate offices, custodial medical/psychiatric institutions (which are criminal justice in function), non-governmental railroad/campus police departments (qualifying for access to III), pretrial service agencies, prosecuting/district attorney offices, probation/parole offices, regional dispatch centers, and local, county, state, or federal criminal justice agencies (which do not fall into one of the aforementioned categories).
The Program Office is committed to working with all N-DEx participants in a responsible manner and has implemented enhanced data sharing management tools. These tools provide all agencies with the ability to manage and share their data at a level they are comfortable with and which complies with the governing laws, regulations, and policies of their jurisdiction.
All current contributing record-owning agencies will have reviewed, and when necessary, established any new or additional sharing rules regarding their N-DEx records. Completion of this step allows the Program Office to begin accepting both data and users from authorized criminal justice agencies as of June 16, 2012.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the amended N-DEx System Access and Acceptable Use Policy or the on-boarding of criminal justice agencies, please contact your state liaison.
May 31, 2012
Significant Enhancements Accompany Build 12.0.0
On June 2, 2012 N-DEx will premiere Build 12.0.0, featuring the addition of the Batch Queries interface, improvements to data sharing capabilities, and significant enhancements to the Geo-Visualization and Link Visualization tools. Users will notice the removal of data sharing flags and an increase in the data ingestion rates. An updated User’s Manual will be released concurrently to reflect the enhancements. A brief degradation of the N-DEx system will occur as a result of the maintenance and upgrades.
The addition of the Batch Queries interface allows for the combination of two or more searches of the same type of information into a single batch job. A practical example might include the need to search for a lengthy list of names, phone numbers, or license plate numbers. N-DEx will automatically process the list and quickly provide search results for each entity, saving time and effort on the part of the user. Computer based training on Batch Queries will be released very shortly after the system enhancement.
Improvements were made to data sharing capabilities as well. Now Source Data Administrators (SDAs) can overwrite rules and set new policy expiration dates. The new data sharing capabilities also allow Federal SDAs to establish data sharing rules for international N-DEx partners. Flags, which displayed the most restrictive sharing rule applied to a record, no longer serve their purpose given the larger criminal justice agency access. Thus, at the request of the Advisory Policy Board, to eliminate confusion in data sharing, the red, yellow and green flag indicators were removed from all records. Simply put, if a user has access to a record, it will be visible.
Geo-Visualization and Link Visualization improvements were also implemented and provide an integrated user interface for Search, Geo-Visualization and Geo-Filtering tools. The system user interface now includes an auto-complete feature and re-query capabilities on several fields. The improvements will provide better integration of the search and Geo-Visualization features and will allow easier navigation between the two functions. A globe icon was created to indicate the existence of Geo-Visualization for a particular record.
Lastly, the enhancements include improvements to the ingest capabilities of the system, increasing the daily ingestion capability from 2 million to 4 million records. Such an upgrade was deemed necessary to keep up with the projected data volume growth and to support the rapidly growing list of additional data providers, such as COPLINK, LInX, and other criminal justice agencies.
During system enhancements, records will still be searchable and viewable but the Visualization, Targeted Search and Subscription services will experience some degradation of functionality. All records within the system must be re-ingested in order to populate this tool and users will experience a gradual phased-in approach of displaying records and icons. It is anticipated that all records will be fully re-ingested within 60 days from system deployment.
Coinciding with the system enhancement is the temporary deactivation of the NCIC and III leveraged systems due to the pending addition of users from the criminal justice community. The N-DEx Program Office apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause users.
Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact the N-DEx Program Office at 304-625-4357 (HELP).
N-DEx Batch Queries Interface