Nlets, INTERPOL, and U.S. DOJ’s Global: Partnerships and Technology for International Justice Information Sharing

May 22, 2012

Nlets released the following:

By: Kayelyn Means

Nlets, INTERPOL, and U.S. DOJ’s Global:
Partnerships and Technology for
International Justice Information Sharing

Prior to in-car computers, smart phones, or other hand-held technology, law enforcement officials had very limited access to comprehensive and up-to-date criminal justice information. For example, an officer would stop a violator, issue a warning or citation and then send the individual on their way, in spite of the fact international warrants or other information existed; this occurred because the information was out of the technological reach of the officer.

Supported by the efforts of the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (Global), Nlets, The International Justice and Public Safety Network, and International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) the power of technology has been combined with old-fashioned collaboration to provide the criminal justice community with real-time access to a world of never-before available information; information that can truly make the difference between life and death.

Providing the secure means to electronically exchange critical international information between the United States and INTERPOL databases gives law enforcement real-time, roadside access to international warrants, stolen vehicles, stolen passports and other travel documents from around the globe. This access immediately enhances officer safety and makes them more effective on the roadside or in an investigation.

“Through INTERPOL’s Federal membership with Nlets, INTERPOL Washington and Nlets have forged a partnership extending access to local law enforcement across America into the INTERPOL database in Lyon, France. Leveraging the extensive national presence of Nlets and extending real-time international access to more than 18,000 domestic law enforcement agencies sets the framework for delivering tools and information that enhances our national security,” states Mike Muth, INTERPOL Washington State and Local Liaison Assistant Director.

What does this Nlets/INTERPOL justice sharing capability “look like” on the street? Consider this: On April 15th, 2011, Manuel Albert Soares was pulled over in Elizabeth, New Jersey, for driving in a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) carpool lane with fewer than the required three passengers. Soares maintains dual-citizenship with Portugal and the U.S. The officer – by using Nlets and leveraging this enhanced capability– queried the driver’s license and international credentials information. What he discovered was an international warrant for Soares’s arrest, issued by Portuguese authorities in March 2009. Soares was immediately taken into custody and held until his extradition order earlier this year.

How did this Nlets/INTERPOL query work behind the scenes? When law enforcement officials in Elizabeth, New Jersey, pulled Soares over and ran his driver’s license, the query transaction – initiated from the New Jersey State Police state switch –traveled across the Nlets network, to the DOJ’s U.S. National Central Bureau (USNCB). This transaction was securely transmitted to the INTERPOL Automated Search Facility database in Lyon, France; the INTERPOL database that houses data from 190 countries. This multi-layered query searched the available databases, for wanted or missing persons by name and date of birth, stolen vehicles by vehicle identification number, and lost or stolen travel documents by document control number. All findings, including the international warrant, were returned roadside to the officer in New Jersey in under 2 seconds.

The Nlets/INTERPOL query capability is available to all states; currently, 33 states have implemented the direct data exchange at this time. Additionally, four states and Washington, DC, have chosen to federate the inquiry to Nlets on all person and motor vehicle inquiries, automatically polling the INTERPOL database across the Nlets network.

• “Maryland currently uses the federated messaging model. We chose this method because it is more user-friendly and avoids a two-step process. When a wanted check is conducted in Maryland, an INTERPOL check is automatically forwarded to Nlets,” says Mike Roosa, Maryland State Police. “We do this because we border Washington, DC, which means we’re a ‘mid-point’ for everyone traveling in and out of DC in our region.”

• Detective Sgt. Eugene Aldrich, Michigan State Police, responsible for orchestrating the implementation of the messages to INTERPOL in Michigan states, “Michigan values this information sharing as important to protecting the public from threats literally around the globe, including terrorists, violent gang members and pedophiles, as well as cautioning officers of potential threats to their own safety, crimes afoot, and missing persons that would be otherwise unknown … With access to a criminal database for 190 countries; it’s another invaluable tool in an officer’s tool belt.”

• Texas is one of the most recent states to tap the INTERPOL databases via Nlets on every inquiry run in the state, implementing the capability in October 2011. “The Texas Department of Public Safety [DPS] made a decision to send inquiries to Lyon, France via INTERPOL with every stolen vehicle check containing a vehicle identification number, and for all wanted person inquiries that contain a name and date of birth. Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunication System [TLETS] supports ‘multiple purpose’ formats that trigger wanted person and stolen vehicle transactions along with other transactions. These formats were modified to also trigger the INTERPOL inquiries,” Tena Watson, Law Enforcement Support Division, TLETS, Texas DPS explains. Since implementing the automatic queries to INTERPOL, Texas has become the highest volume user of the INTERPOL data exchange message key on the Nlets network. “We send an average of 1.3 million person queries and 175,000 vehicle queries over the Nlets network each month, each with an accompanying query to the INTERPOL databases,” Watson adds. “We know that some of the people traveling through Texas are wanted internationally and will eventually come into contact with law enforcement.” She advises, “Other states may have chosen not to check INTERPOL on every roadside stop because they haven’t had enough training on its significance, but this is imperative and greatly beneficial, especially to Border States. Sending each of these messages to Lyon, France has taken the place of the previous manual inquiry method, many of which were done improperly because so many law enforcement officials didn’t have the proper tools or training.”

The advancement of technology that allowed this secure exchange through Interpol was not completed by Nlets and INTERPOL alone. In support of this effort, and a whole range of similar efforts, Global and the Global Advisory Committee (GAC) has developed national standards-based information sharing policies, practices and technology solutions for over 13 years. Nlets and INTERPOL are longstanding and valuable members of Global and the GAC, assisting in the development and implementation processes of these national standards.

“Global’s support and participation in the building of standards for information exchange has been invaluable to Nlets and the law enforcement and justice community as a whole,” says Steve Correll, Nlets Executive Director. “Nlets was the first national entity to adopt GJXDM, a precursor to NIEM, to check wanted persons, stolen vehicles, and travel documents is a perfect example of how using off the shelf protocols and agreed upon and widely adopted Global standards can save lives, protect property, and get the bad guys off the street.”

One of Global’s hallmark standards is the Global Justice XML Data Model (GJXDM), developed in response to the critical need to streamline and standardize the exchange of public safety data between, and among, law enforcement agencies throughout the nation.

As the need for national information sharing has expanded to include health, immigration, and other non-traditional justice partners, DOJ, Global, and the Department Homeland Security evolved the GJXDM into the acclaimed the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM).

“A project is underway at Nlets to convert all of the nearly two hundred message keys to be NIEM compliant, but GJXDM support will continue. We are working to support ‘tri-directional’ message format transformations that will allow the continued use of versions of GJXDM and NIEM available to our users. ‘Tri-directional’ transformation gives states and federal agencies the ability to send and receive messages in their respective format [text, XML, etc.], regardless of which format other states are sending and receiving,” says Kate Silhol, Nlets Senior Software Engineer. As Nlets converts all its data exchange message keys, information returned on queries is streamlined for end users; this is particularly beneficial to users sending queries to INTERPOL’s international database.

What’s ahead for the three partners, Nlets, INTERPOL and Global? The GJXDM/NIEM foundational work that paved the way for the Nlets and INTERPOL “global” information exchanges continues to broaden sharing capabilities. NIEM recently made strides toward becoming an international model with the signing of a tri-lateral information sharing Memorandum of Understanding agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, which includes two pilot projects using NIEM.

And, the advancement of innovative justice and public safety information sharing capabilities is about to lead to further expansion with the inclusion of video and images, to and from INTERPOL via Nlets. This image / video capability could empower officers on the roadside to eliminate at least 90% of all ‘potential hit’ responses because a photo could be included within each record.

Nlets and INTERPOL strongly encourage states to begin federating their in-state wanted and stolen vehicle inquiries through Nlets to INTERPOL. States are encouraged to contact their industry partners about implementing the federated INTERPOL queries in conjunction with the message keys they currently support. The information returned could save lives, enhance officer safety and help apprehend high-profiles wanted throughout the world…and here at home.”

To learn more about Nlets, please visit www.nlets.org.

For more information about U.S. DOJ’s Global, please visit www.it.ojp.gov/global

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
INTERPOL Red Notice Removal Lawyers Videos:

INTERPOL Notice Removal

INTERPOL’s Red Notice

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Traffic Enforcement Plays an Important Part in the US Criminal Justice System

March 21, 2012

Nlets released the following:

By: Kayelyn Means

Nlets: The International Justice and Public Safety Network

Traffic enforcement is often an extensive part of a law enforcement official’s day to day job. In these tough economic times it is expensive and difficult for agencies to meet the traffic enforcement needs within their community. Companies specializing in red light, speed and toll violation cameras have found and important technical niche in providing contracted solutions to law enforcement agencies as integral resources used by law enforcement to determine traffic violators and issue the proper citations. Nlets, the International Justice and Public Safety Network, has also expanded its focus to serve as a resource in traffic enforcement.

Each time a law enforcement official sends a registration or driver’s license query beyond their state borders, it travels across the Nlets network and back in less than a second – more than 100 million times each month. Without realizing it, law enforcement officials use the Nlets network every time they send a query out of state, which is often the case with traffic violations. Very few law enforcement officials know about this driving force providing them information and working to expand their information sharing capabilities, particularly in their pursuit to enforce state and local traffic laws.

Nlets, the International Justice and Public Safety Network, is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization owned and governed by the states. With an operational site located in Arizona, the state-of-the-art Nlets system and network provides information services, data sharing, and support for justice-related agencies across the country, connecting states, federal agencies, and select regional and international agencies.

The Nlets network runs over 1 billion transactions each year, connecting 45,000 user agencies, 1.3 million pc, mobile and handheld devices in the U.S., and more than 1.2 million users, and runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year with an average uptime of 99.99%. These transactions range from driver’s license and registration queries to concealed weapon permits, state warrant and criminal history queries, and many others.

Through some of Nlets’ expanding initiatives to aide with law enforcement, twenty-seven states are also currently sharing driver’s license and corrections photos with other states across the Nlets network. Another exciting Nlets’ project includes a National License Plate Reader (LPR) Pointer System prototype that will index LPR images nationally for law enforcement inquiry. Nlets strives to also assist traffic enforcement by partnering with red light, speed, and toll violation companies through a strictly regimented strategic partner program that is approved by the states. Red light and speed camera companies use automated camera technology to provide speed and red light enforcement services to traffic and law enforcement agencies throughout the country, while toll violation camera companies capture images of vehicles in violation of toll way laws. With the combined efforts of Nlets and law enforcement contracted traffic violation camera companies, vehicle registration data is shared quickly and efficiently to better serve traffic enforcement working to accurately determine all violators, and prevent further traffic violations.

“By partnering with Nlets, traffic violation camera companies that are contractually obligated to specific law enforcement agencies have secure, appropriate and limited access to motor vehicle registration data to better serve their customers – law enforcement,” says Kyle Darnell, Nlets Project Manager responsible for Nlets partnerships.

Nlets has been partnering with traffic violation companies since 2004, when it first partnered with the American Traffic Solution (ATS). Nlets now has eight active partners in the industry and three more in development. Technology and enforcement are here to stay in these tough economic times.

“Our traffic violation company partners streamline the enforcement process for the jurisdictions it serves. It also enables local police departments to issue tickets to out-of-state vehicles which will results in more effective enforcement for law enforcement,” says Kyle Darnell.

On another important technology front, for the past several years Nlets has been working on another sharing initiative, the Nlets Interstate Sharing of Photos (NISP), which currently provides the interstate sharing of driver’s license and corrections images to law enforcement agencies in 27 states, as they query an individual over the Nlets network.

This initiative functions as a grant funded by the National Institute of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. The major benefits of sharing driver’s license and corrections images include the straightforward, instant, photo identification and detection of fraudulent use of driver’s licenses or other false identification.

“It is essential that we provide law enforcement and public safety officials with the capability to share interstate driver license and corrections images over Nlets. Law enforcement needs access to images to protect the public, as well as for their own safety,” says Wendy Brinkley, Nlets North Carolina representative and past Nlets President. “The interstate sharing of images over Nlets plays an integral part in saving time and effort, and increasing the safety of officers and citizens.”

Currently, 27 states are in production to share driver’s license and corrections images, with eight more scheduled for development in 2011-2012. Nlets hopes to further spread this capability to all 50 states and each of the U.S. territories, as the individual states become technically able to do so. This job will not be done and, Nlets will continue working with each state and grant funders until this important capability is implemented in every state.

In a recent effectiveness study of states participating in NISP, all participants reported success in general state law and traffic enforcement, and improved ability for making positive identification of individuals, and the vast majority of the participants reported success in regional and local law enforcement, as well as improvements in detecting ID theft and in apprehensions.

In addition to sharing driver’s license images and partnering with traffic enforcement, Nlets is working to create a LPR Pointer System prototype to establish a single national LPR repository that law and traffic enforcement agencies across all states can access to determine if a license plate has been captured by an LPR camera.

“The national LPR Pointer System that is being created will provide a valuable tool set to law enforcement in the US and Canada for years to come,” says Frank Minice, Nlets Chief Information Technology Officer. “In addition to serving as a national search capability for license plate readers, this will work with Nlets’ proactive alerting notification capability project, which is still in development.”

This repository will consist of meta-data about the capture event (date, time and location coordinates), the license plate number, any agencies capturing the data, and possibly a thumbnail image of the license plate.

“With this prototype, a law enforcement agency can query one location, Nlets, to find out if a license plate has been captured in an area, region, or across the entire United States. This also allows for proactive alerting to notify a law enforcement agency as soon as a license plate they are looking for is added to the Nlets repository,” said Ted Rainer, who is leading the Nlets LPR Pointer System prototype project.

The Pointer System will be housed at the Nlets facility, but will be accessible by all states and agencies connected to the Nlets network.

While these initiatives are in the forefront of Nlets’ work with traffic enforcement, there are many other projects and grants in production in the background, all with the common mission to enhance information and data sharing, and increase officer safety. Nlets is always looking for ways to expand and seeking ideas for new grants and projects that serve the Nlets vision, “To continue to be the premier provider of the network, system and services that will support and encourage a totally standardized, integrated, international justice system.”

To learn more about Nlets, please visit http://www.nlets.org.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
INTERPOL Red Notice Removal Lawyers Videos:

INTERPOL Notice Removal

INTERPOL’s Red Notice

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.