INTERPOL Washington:
A Description of Services Provided to Law Enforcement

Interpol logoINTERPOL Washington serves as the United States’ representative to INTERPOL, the International Criminal Police Organization, which supports partnerships and encourages problem-solving techniques to address international public safety issues. Each of the 188 INTERPOL member countries establishes a National Central Bureau (NCB) to serve as the central point of contact for its law enforcement authorities to communicate with their counterparts in other INTERPOL member countries and to proactively examine and identify problems. INTERPOL teams up with law enforcement agencies to scan, analyze, and evaluate effective responses to crimes, as each NCB works with police authorities to transmit, respond to, and execute requests for assistance in criminal investigations and police matters.

The USNCB is co-managed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). While many of the employees at the USNCB represent DOJ and DHS, the USNCB is also staffed with sworn law enforcement personnel detailed from federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies. These personnel operate in divisions dedicated to specific investigative areas including: aliens and fugitives, economic crimes, drugs, terrorism, and violent crimes, as well as coordinating with 68 state and local liaison offices.

The USNCB provides assistance, without charge, to all U.S. federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, as well as to police authorities in other INTERPOL member countries. The USNCB operates on a 24/7 basis, providing a variety of services to the U.S. law enforcement community including, but not limited to:

  • Requests for criminal investigative assistance for both domestic and foreign law enforcement agencies
  • Information from INTERPOL’s Databases, including the equivalent of the “International NCIC” with information on persons wanted in INTERPOL’s 188 member countries, Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD), stolen vehicles, DNA, and other criminal law enforcement information
  • Criminal history information and record checks from member countries
  • Tracing and locating fugitives wanted for prosecution and to serve sentences
  • Tracing and locating missing persons or abducted children
  • International fingerprint and DNA checks
  • Weapons and vehicle traces
  • Assisting with border security
  • Disaster victim identification
  • Locating stolen art and artifacts

In addition to the services listed above, the USNCB offers initiatives like RISSNET, IAFIS, FBI Law Enforcement Online, NLETS Integration, and MIND/FIND to law enforcement agencies. RISSNET is a secure intranet that connects 5,700 law enforcement agencies in all 50 U.S. states, as well as agencies in Ontario and Quebec, the District of Columbia, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Australia. RISSNET provides a secure communications backbone between the USNCB and designated U.S. INTERPOL State/County/Major City offices, as well as affording limited access to the INTERPOL databases. The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, more commonly known as IAFIS, is a national fingerprint and criminal history system maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division. The USNCB worked with the FBI and INTERPOL Headquarters in Lyon, France, to develop a way to query and store International and Domestic fingerprints within their respective systems. The Law Enforcement Online (LEO) system provides a protected network that law enforcement members can use to communicate securely with the USNCB and transmit sensitive but unclassified information. NLETS is a computer-based message switching system that links together state, local, and federal law enforcement and justice agencies for the purpose of information exchange. This system is the largest outreach tool available to state and local police; and MIND/FIND helps countries connect with ease using either fixed or mobile integrated network databases, known as MIND and FIND respectively. Both can integrate into the existing computer-assisted verification system in any country.

As described, the USNCB is the central point of contact for all INTERPOL matters in the United States and it coordinates and transmits requests for investigative and humanitarian assistance between foreign police authorities and U.S. law enforcement authorities. From the small town police department to the large federal agencies, the USNCB transmits thousands of messages about wanted fugitives, kidnapped children, terrorism, illegal drug trafficking, and other criminal activities to assist police investigations around the world. To read more about the USNCB, please visit http://www.justice.gov/usncb/index.php.

Melissa Niese
Program Specialist
The COPS Office

Latonya Miller
Public and Congressional Affairs Officer
INTERPOL Washington

Back to top

Dispatch Home | Reentry Database Available | Meet the Grants Monitoring Division (GMD) | INTERPOL Washington | Suspicious Activity Initiative Update | Better Serving the Deaf Community | Spotlight on North Charleston PD