April 9, 2014
Originally published in the April 2014 edition of the CJIS Link, Volume 16, Number 1
American entrepreneur James Cash Penney once said, “The art of effective listening is essential to clear communication, and clear communication is necessary to management success.” Communication and a shared-management concept are the foundation of the CJIS Advisory Process that help guide the course of six crucial CJIS programs:
- Next Generation Identification (NGI)
- National Data Exchange (N-DEx)
- Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal (LEEP)
- National Crime Information Center (NCIC)
- National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)
- Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program
The concept of the CJIS Advisory Process is a simple one. While the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is responsible for the day-to-day management of these six systems that are vital to law enforcement across the country and internationally, the FBI also realizes it should not administer these systems in a vacuum. That is why the FBI has been seeking user input through advisory boards since 1969 with NCIC and 1989 with UCR. In 1994 CJIS joined these advisory groups together to create the CJIS Advisory Policy Board (APB). The APB is a 34‑member body made up of representatives from criminal justice agencies and associations across the nation that voice the opinions, concerns, and needs of CJIS Systems users to the FBI and its Director. The APB meets twice each year with CJIS management and staff to discuss problems, suggest innovations, and help shape the direction and future of CJIS services.
How does one become a member of the APB?
The bulk of the board (21 members) is elected from one federal and four regional (Northeastern, North Central, Western, and Southern) Working Groups. Each regional Working Group selects three state-level and two local-level agency representatives to serve on the APB. In addition, the Director of the FBI appoints five members who represent prosecutorial, judicial, correctional, national security, and tribal law enforcement members of the criminal justice community and eight members who represent criminal justice professional associations (e.g., National Sheriffs’ Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police). All of these experts in their fields come together to bring a wealth of experience and perspectives to the table to share in the management of the very services they use.
Can anyone suggest an idea to the APB?
Any user of CJIS Systems with an idea for improvement can submit a suggestion for consideration. Members of state and local agencies, State Identification Bureau personnel, or federal employees who access CJIS Systems through a state network can submit proposals to their state’s CJIS Systems Officer, or CSO, for consideration. State Identification Bureau personnel, as well as professional organizations, may also submit their ideas directly to CJIS.
When suggesting an idea for consideration in the CJIS Advisory Process, address the following:
- State your request clearly.
- Explain how the issue you are addressing is currently handled, or describe the problem being solved.
- Provide the suggested solution.
- Provide a scenario or example of the problem/solution.
- Express the benefit to the criminal justice community.
- Communicate the impact to state system users, if known (for example, time or resources).
- Convey how important or critical the problem/solution is.
- Provide a contact person for the suggestion.
- Give any additional information or details you think will help make the suggestion understandable.
The FBI’s Designated Federal Officer reviews and evaluates each proposal forwarded by a CSO or sent directly to the FBI’s Advisory Process Management team. If the proposal is assessed as a worthy idea, it is forwarded to the APB for consideration. If the APB, after study and discussion, agrees that it is a good idea, it will forward the recommendation to the FBI Director for his consideration and approval.
The CJIS Advisory Process is based on the concept that, where there is communication, debate, and the opportunity for all participants to be heard, there are innovations and solutions to be found. This concept is what keeps CJIS Systems on the forward wave of the criminal justice community’s needs.
If you have an idea to improve a CJIS System that you would like to be considered, or you need to find out who your CSO is, contact the Advisory Process Management team via e-mail at email@example.com.