The importance of NCIC and law enforcement access to the database

The National Crime Information Center (NCIC) turned 50 in January 2017. This national database has transformed the way law enforcement agencies fight crime everywhere in the country. The database is essential to sharing information across state lines and is a key element of several day-to-day tasks that law enforcement professionals perform.

Here is how the NCIC has transformed law enforcement and why it is crucial to incorporate this database into daily workflows.

What is the NCIC?

The NCIC is a database organized in 21 different files. Seven of these files contain records of stolen property, including vehicles, guns, license plates and more. The other 14 files contain records for individuals. These files include the Supervised Release database, the National Sex Offender Registry, the Immigration Violator file and the Missing Person file among others.

The records include criminal history details, photographs and more data to help law enforcement officers identify individuals or property. The NCIC works as a central repository for records collected by law enforcement agencies across the country. A user can issue a query on any of these 14 files and find out if an individual has a criminal past, is currently wanted, or if a vehicle has been stolen in another state.

A short history of the NCIC

The conception of the first databases can be traced back to the 1960s. Airlines were among the first organizations to adopt this new technology. The NCIC was conceptualized in the 1960s by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. The first iteration of the law enforcement database was created in January of 1967. Police officers would have to radio in their requests and could access data from 350,000 records organized into five files. Only 15 states took part in the program back then.

The first successful match happened in May of 1967 when a New York City police officer was able to identify a vehicle that had been stolen in Boston after radioing in a request and receiving an answer in 90 seconds. The NCIC grew and included 50 states by 1971. More files were created to organize the data. In 1980, Canadian warrants were added to the database.

The NCIC evolved as new technologies become available. The most recent major change was in 1999 with digital images added to some records. Inquiry alerts were also introduced.

The NCIC quickly established itself as a vital tool for law enforcement agencies across the country. It is fast, reliable and allows law enforcement to effectively share the information needed to fight crime across jurisdictions and state lines.

New ways to access the NCIC

New technology is making the NCIC easier to access than ever before. If you use a CAD, RMS or mobile tools for your law enforcement database, you can use ARMS’ NCIC module that integrates seamlessly with your existing solution and allows you to issue NCIC queries across the main files without switching between modules.

You can use this module to issue an NCIC query from an ARMS data entry window. There is no need to use a state terminal or to establish a VPN connection if you are on mobile. This feature contributes to making the NCIC more accessible, reduces your workload and eliminates redundant entries with your RMS database.

ARMS offers a wide range of tools and modules designed to create more efficient workflows and automate some daily tasks. Get in touch with us to find out more about our NCIC module and other products designed to support the core workflows of law enforcement agencies.