WINDOW ROCK, Ariz.—The Navajo Nation launched the Tribal Access Program on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, in Window Rock, Arizona. The Tribal Access Program is a program within the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) allowing tribes access to the National Crime Information System for both criminal and civil purposes.
On the day of the launch, the USDOJ sent the Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief Information Officer Joseph Klimavicz to the Navajo Nation to meet with Vice President Jonathan Nez, Acting Chief Justice Thomas J. Holgate, Associate Justice Eleanor Shirley, Public Safety Director Jesse Delmar, Chief Prosecutor Gertrude Lee, Chief of Police Phillip Francisco, and Acting Director of Criminal Investigations Dale West.
Vice President Nez stated, “There are problems in and around the Navajo Nation with regards to tracking known criminals and associates. In order to address these issues to prevent crime, we must work together and collaborate by sharing information between our different jurisdictions whether they be tribal, state, or federal. This is for the safety of our Navajo people and families. I welcome the visitors from the U.S. Department of Justice to Diné Bikéyah.”
Prior to the TAP Launch, the Navajo Nation did not have direct access to national crime information systems. In 2016 Orlando Bowman, Program Supervisor from the Navajo Police Department applied for the Tribal Access Program due to the bureaucratic measures the Nation had to take to get access to other criminal convictions. “The access to outside criminal convictions will greatly increase the public safety of the Navajo people,” said Mr. Bowman.
The Navajo Nation Judicial Branch, Navajo Nation Office of the Prosecutor, Navajo Police Department, Navajo Nation Department of Criminal Investigations, Navajo Nation Division of Social Services, and Navajo Nation Department of Corrections are all participants of the program dedicated to increasing the public safety of the Navajo Nation. The Nation received two kiosk workstations from the USDOJ. The kiosks provide access to the national systems to cross-check suspected criminals against local and national databases. This access will protect Navajo children, prevent domestic violence offenders from purchasing guns, and an awareness of registered sex offenders.
“The Tribal Access Program rollout is exciting and a huge step forward for the Office of the Prosecutor. Direct access to criminal justice information databases is a very useful tool for the prosecutors as we gather information that helps us tailor conditions of release or conditions of probation for those coming into the criminal justice system,” said Navajo Nation Chief Prosecutor Gertrude Lee.
“Communication is a vital component to the success of any operation. It was very encouraging to see USDOJ, Navajo Nation, and other partners demonstrating a high level of effective communication leading up to and during the deployment phase of TAP on the Navajo Nation. This was a very important step for all parties involved as we work at improving lines of communication on the Nation. I look forward to continuing this working relationship to make our communities a safer place for all our families,” added Navajo Nation Acting Director of Criminal Investigations Dale West.
“I want to thank our Navajo Nation employees and the USDOJ for all their hard work in launching the tribal access program. It’s a tremendous step forward in increasing the public safety of the Navajo Nation,” said Vice President Nez.