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NCIC Celebrates 40 Years

Washington, D.C. January 18, 2007
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

Clarksburg, WV - A celebration to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) will be held at the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division, in Clarksburg, West Virginia, on January 26, 2007. Cartha D. "Deke" DeLoach, former FBI Deputy Director under J. Edgar Hoover, will be the keynote speaker for this event.

NCIC became operational on January 27, 1967 with the goal of assisting law enforcement by providing a national ability to apprehend fugitives and locate stolen property. During its first year of operation, NCIC was hailed as a great success while processing a modest 2 ½ million transactions for the entire year. Currently, NCIC processes an average of more than 5.5 million transactions per day and recently set a record on January 4, 2007 with 6,486,744.

CJIS Division Assistant Director Thomas E. Bush III said, "As NCIC reaches its 40th year of operation, we can proudly look back to the amazing results it has produced including countless lives that have been saved. At the same time we look forward to a bright future by enhancing our capabilities as technology continues to emerge. I want to thank our criminal justice partners who rely on NCIC daily to do their jobs more effectively. I also want to recognize the Advisory Policy Board. They are a representation of all the users. They work collaboratively to establish best practices and improve overall service. It would be hard to find a more reliable, widely used, and important law enforcement tool than NCIC over the last 40 years."

For 40 years, records residing in NCIC have promptly aided law enforcement at all levels in tracking fugitives, missing persons, and stolen property. As a central clearinghouse of criminal justice information, NCIC produces success stories on a daily basis. Imagine a police department enters an arrest warrant into a computer database only to discover the subject had been queried upon earlier by another police department more than 1,500 miles away. That's exactly what transpired a few weeks ago when a bank robber wanted in Arkansas for capital murder charges was located in California as a result of a "delayed inquiry notification" from NCIC.

NCIC is a computerized database of documented criminal justice information available to virtually every law enforcement agency nationwide, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. NCIC serves more than 90,000 criminal justice and law enforcement agencies by providing information which can assist in apprehending fugitives, locating missing persons, locating and returning stolen property, and identifying terrorists and their supporters. It also provides protection for law enforcement personnel and for the public.

Criminal justice agencies enter records into the NCIC, which are subsequently accessible to law enforcement agencies nationwide. For example, during a routine traffic stop, a law enforcement officer can conduct an inquiry into NCIC to determine if the vehicle is stolen or if the driver is a wanted person. The NCIC system responds instantly if a match is found. The inquiring agency is required to contact the entering agency to verify that the information is accurate and up-to-date.

NCIC 2000 became operational on July 11, 1999, and enhanced the base capabilities of the legacy system as well as added important new files. Some of the new capabilities include: the ability to accept, store, and retrieve digital images; expanded fields; and the delayed inquiry notification. The delayed inquiry provides a capability for the system to automatically extract certain descriptive data from entries and use it to search the transaction log for inquiries conducted up to five days prior to the entry. Notifications are sent to both the entering and inquiring agency for further investigation.

The NCIC operates under a shared management concept between the FBI and local, tribal, state and federal criminal justice agencies. The FBI maintains the host computer while providing a telecommunication network to the CJIS Systems Agency (CSA) in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and Canada, as well as federal criminal justice agencies. In turn, each CSA provides a telecommunication network which allows access to virtually all local criminal justice agencies. Through this cooperative network, law enforcement personnel have direct on-line access to enter and search millions of records for persons and property.

A system that began with only 5 separate Files of information has expanded to include 18 Files of crucial information on missing persons, terrorists, immigration violators, convicted sexual offenders and victims of identity theft. A recent survey determined that a wanted person hit is confirmed in NCIC every 90 seconds. Today, NCIC truly operates as the backbone of information sharing among the law enforcement community.