Home News Testimony The National Crime Information Center: A ‘Lifeline’ for Law Enforcement
  • Roy G. Weise
  • Senior Advisor, Criminal Justice Information Services Division
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Statement Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs
  • Washington, DC
  • January 19, 2010

Good morning Senator Specter and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs. I am Roy G. Weise, Senior Advisor in the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, or CJIS, located in Clarksburg, West Virginia, and I thank you for this opportunity. The CJIS Division maintains oversight of five major programs, including the National Crime Information Center, more commonly known as NCIC.

NCIC is a computerized index of documented criminal justice information available to criminal justice agencies nationwide. The information maintained in NCIC assists authorized users in apprehending fugitives, locating missing persons, recovering stolen property, and identifying terrorists. In addition, information contained in NCIC assists law enforcement officers in performing their official duties more safely and provides them with information necessary to aid in protecting the general public.

NCIC operates under a shared management concept. This means the FBI serves as the custodian of the records housed in NCIC and maintains the operational availability of the system. The entry, modification, and removal of records are the responsibility of the law enforcement agency that holds the arrest warrant.

In January 1967 when NCIC became operational, it included five files, which contained 356,784 records. In its first year of operation, NCIC processed approximately 2.4 million transactions, or an average of 5,479 transactions daily. Last year NCIC processed 2.4 billion transactions. Recently, NCIC experienced a new one-day record of 8.6 million transactions. Presently, NCIC contains 19 files with over 15 million records, of which nearly 1.7 million are in the wanted persons file. NCIC services more than 90,000 user agencies and averages 7.5 million transactions per day.

Although there are no mandates that require the entry of warrants into NCIC, law enforcement personnel rely greatly upon the use of the system as is apparent with the dramatic increase in transactions over the past 43 years. Even though participation in NCIC is voluntary—except for the entry of juvenile missing person records—once a record is entered into the system, the record must be maintained following the rules and regulations decided upon by the users through the CJIS advisory process. These policies—which include timely entry and timely removal, validation, second party checks, and hit confirmation—support the data quality and integrity of the system. The FBI’s CJIS Audit Unit conducts compliance audits of the law enforcement and criminal justice community to ensure users comply with NCIC, III, and CJIS policies and procedures. Likewise, states are required to perform audits of all of their constituent agencies.

At CJIS, we are actively engaged with the user community in promoting the use of the system and its benefits. This is accomplished by daily interaction—whether by phone, video teleconference, or e-mail; attendance at meetings and seminars; and via the CJIS advisory process. In fact, in 2007 the CJIS Advisory Policy Board convened a warrant task force to address many outstanding warrant-related topics. The task force is comprised of a panel of subject matter experts who understand and place special emphasis on the importance of wanted person file record entry by state and local law enforcement.

Throughout my travels, I am constantly reminded by law enforcement how vital NCIC is in the performance of their official duties. Some have called it their lifeline, and the volume of transactions bears that out.

Thank you for the opportunity to address the Subcommittee on this issue, and I look forward to answering any questions you may have.

 
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