INTERPOL Washington and Nlets: A Partnership to Share International Criminal Information

The world is getting smaller, and law enforcement agencies have a critical need for access to worldwide information. We have people from all over the world visiting and working in the United States. Traditionally, officers only needed information from U.S. databases such as FBI-CJIS and individual states data using the International Justice and Public Safety Network (Nlets). Today, the need for technology that connects international justice information is a new reality. The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) is leading the transformation to share international criminal justice information. In the United States, INTERPOL Washington (the U.S. National Central Bureau) is the connection for U.S. law enforcement agencies.

Interol WashingtonINTERPOL Washington is providing seamless access to INTERPOL resources in Lyon, France, the location of the Organization's Headquarters. “One of INTERPOL's most important functions is to help police in its member countries share critical crime-related information using our system of international notices.”1 Officers querying INTERPOL databases have access to information contained within eight international notices published at the request of INTERPOL's 190 member countries. INTERPOL foreign notices are also entered into NCIC if they meet FBI-CJIS entry guidelines. The international notices are defined as follows:

  • “Red Notice”- To seek the location and arrest of a fugitive wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence or serious offenses for the purpose of extradition or other lawful return.
  • “Blue Notice”- To locate, identify, or obtain information on a person of interest in a criminal investigation, including offenders, suspects, and witnesses.
  • “Green Notice”- To warn about persons who are a possible threat to public safety or may commit a criminal offense, based on previous criminal convictions or history.
  • “Yellow Notice”- To locate a missing person or to identify a person unable to identify himself/herself.
  • “Black Notice”- To seek information on unidentified bodies.
  • “Orange Notice”- Urgent warnings that provide information about procedures, events, or modus operandi that constitute imminent threats to public safety and are likely to cause serious injury to persons and/or damage to property.
  • “United Nations Security Council Special Notice”- To inform INTERPOL's member countries that an individual or an entity is subject to UN sanctions, including membership in terrorist groups.
  • “Purple Notice”- To provide information on modus operandi, procedures, objects, devices, or hiding places used by criminals.

INTERPOL Washington's information sharing objectives include providing immediate access to INTERPOL resources to U.S. law enforcement agencies. INTERPOL Washington has developed a partnership with Nlets to share international law enforcement information. Nlets has a storied history of sharing law enforcement and public safety information on a national level. Through Nlets, every federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement organization (18,000-plus agencies) can have access to INTERPOL information.

Interol WashingtonTen states and the District of Columbia (Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia) have federated their criminal justice queries to include an automatic query through Nlets of INTERPOL databases. These states and the District of Columbia have embraced this extremely proactive approach to routinely run investigative checks against INTERPOL systems. Now state, local, and tribal organizations possess the opportunity to identify and secure potential national security gaps that involve transnational crime by automatically checking INTERPOL's criminal investigative databases, including for issues such as wanted persons, criminal history, stolen motor vehicles, and Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD).

INTERPOL Washington and Nlets are continuing to work to tie together global justice information resources for the officer on the street—providing front-line law enforcement officers with the information needed to protect our communities and enhance officer safety.

For more information on INTERPOL Washington's information-sharing techniques and tools, please contact Chief Information Officer Wayne Towson at or call the 24/7/365 INTERPOL Operation and Command Center at 202-616-3900.


1 INTERPOL Fact Sheet International Notices 2014

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