DOJ adds two San Diego tribes to data access program

SAN DIEGO —┬áThe U.S. departments of Justice and the Interior Monday announced that two San Diego County tribes are included in an expansion of the Tribal Access Program, which allows tribes to access national crime information data.

The San Pasqual Band of Diegueno Mission Indians and the La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians are two of the 25 new tribes to be added into TAP by the end of 2019, according to the DOJ. The additions will expand the program from the current 47 tribes to 72. In addition, the Department of the Interior will fund the addition of TAP kiosks at 28 agencies operating under the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

“For far too long, a lack of access to federal criminal databases has hurt tribal law enforcement — preventing them from doing their jobs and keeping their communities safe,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said. “With the Tribal Access Program, participating tribes will be able to protect victims of domestic violence, register sex offenders, keep guns out of dangerous hands, and help locate missing people.”

Participating tribes can choose between two different versions of the program, TAP-Full and TAP-Light. Tribes in TAP-Full receive a dedicated work station providing access to national criminal data systems and training to use the data systems while TAP-Light tribes receive software generally used by law enforcement agencies like police departments, prosecutors and criminal courts. Tribes in both TAP subdivisions have access to national criminal databases like the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Systems network, the National Crime Information Center and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

The San Pasqual Band and the La Jolla Band join the Pauma Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, the Los Coyotes Band of Cuhuilla and Cupeno Indians of the Los Coyotes Reservation and the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation as San Diego County tribes in TAP. The Pauma, Los Coyotes and Sycuan bands all participate in the TAP-Light program.

“Access to information is vital to effective law enforcement,” said Trent Shores, Chairman of the U.S. Attorney General’s Advisory Subcommittee on Native American Issues. “The Tribal Access Program will enhance and improve the ability of tribal law enforcement officers to serve their communities. The Native American Issues Subcommittee is proud to support the continued expansion of this tool throughout Indian Country.”