August 3, 2021

Bridging the Gaps for Tribal Partners

For more than a decade, the FBI’s Tribal Engagement Program (TEP) has worked to develop relationships with the 574 federally recognized tribal agencies. The program addresses issues that could prevent tribes from using the systems available from the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division.

Program staff concentrate on the needs of individual tribal communities. As a result, tribal participation in the division’s services increased by 16 percent from fiscal year (FY) 2018 to FY 2019. Due to that engagement, tribal agencies appreciate the importance of sharing criminal justice information with the FBI. In turn, the CJIS Division values having tribal agencies as data contributors and program participants. And up-to-date criminal justice databases play a part in keeping all communities safe.

TEP personnel help tribal law enforcement agencies use CJIS systems for their criminal justice purposes. Common tasks include:

TEP also helps tribal housing, foster care, and educational agencies perform noncriminal justice background checks for employees, volunteers, and housing applicants.

In 2019, TEP staff coordinated the filming of a video featuring six tribes’ experiences in using some of the CJIS Division’s largest systems and programs. The video is scheduled for release during FY 2021, and TEP personnel plan to provide copies to all federally recognized tribes and to other law enforcement agencies that request a copy. Program staff members will also show the video at special events.

For more information regarding TEP’s outreach and educational events for tribal agencies on CJIS Division systems, e-mail cjistribaloutreach@fbi.gov.