Advisory Policy Board Involves Users to Help Manage Criminal Justice Systems

For more than a century, law enforcement agencies have relied on criminal justice information to help keep them safe and bring awareness to crime in their areas. Criminal justice information can help law enforcement officers identify wanted or missing persons; provide investigative leads on subjects by comparing fingerprints, criminal mugshots, or iris images; and search criminal history record information. The FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division manages the following systems in support of keeping communities safer:

  • The National Crime Information Center houses records such as those of wanted persons, missing persons, and persons who pose a threat to officer and public safety, as well as records of stolen property items.
  • The Next Generation Identification system serves as an electronic repository of biometric and criminal history information to include rolled and flat fingerprints, latent fingerprints, palm prints, criminal mugshots, and iris images.
  • The National Data Exchange (N-DEx) is an unclassified strategic investigative information sharing system that houses records such as arrest reports, missing persons reports, service calls, etc., from all over the nation. N-DEx provides criminal justice agencies the ability to share, search, link, and analyze information across jurisdictional boundaries, helping to fill informational gaps and provide situational awareness.
  • The Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal is a secure web-based platform for law enforcement agencies, intelligence groups, and criminal justice entities. It serves as the conduit to more than 60 online criminal justice services, providing web-based investigative tools and analytical resources to authorized users.
  • The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) serves federal firearms licensees (FFL) to determine whether the transfer of a firearm from the FFL would violate Title 18, United States Code, section 922(d), (g) or (n), or any state, local, or tribal prohibition. Individuals prohibited from receiving firearms can be entered into the NICS Indices to ensure firearms are not transferred by the FFL. The NICS can also be used by criminal justice agencies in limited licensing scenarios or by law enforcement agencies before returning a firearm in their possession to the owner.
  • The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program collects crime data through the National Incident-Based Reporting System, shares the data via the Crime Data Explorer, and uses the data to generate reliable statistics for use by law enforcement and the public. The FBI gathers information from law enforcement for data collections such as the Hate Crime Statistics Collection, National Use-of-Force Data Collection, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted Data Collection, Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection, and, starting in 2023, the Lawful Access Data Collection and the Law Enforcement Public Contact Data Collection.

Although the FBI owns and operates various criminal justice information systems, the FBI rarely makes significant, unilateral policy decisions regarding the management of these systems. This is because the proper operation of these systems depends upon the nationwide criminal justice community for its voluntary contributions of data.  

To implement this shared management concept, the CJIS Division created the CJIS Advisory Process. The charter established the Advisory Policy Board (APB) in March 1994. The APB is authorized by 28 C.F.R. 20.35 and approved by the Director of the FBI, in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Through this process, the CJIS Division and its partners from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial criminal justice agencies share responsibility for the operation of systems at the CJIS Division. The centerpiece of the process is the CJIS APB, which effectively considers input from all levels of the criminal justice community and subject matter experts. The APB incorporates their feedback into recommendations for the FBI Director.

The CJIS Advisory Process has multiple layers to ensure all concepts are analyzed and discussed. Four regional working groups include representatives of criminal justice agencies from all U.S. states and territories. One tribal representative is also a member of each working group. In addition, federal agencies appoint representatives to the Federal Working Group.

Ad hoc subcommittees exist to address subject-specific issues, and are comprised of subject matter experts and advisory process participants. Currently, nine subcommittees address a variety of system, policy, and security-related issues.

These groups provide feedback to the CJIS APB and FBI for consideration when making the final recommendations to the FBI Director.

The CJIS APB consists of 35 members:

  • Twenty members representing the regional working groups—three state and two local agency representatives from each region
  • Five members selected by the FBI Director—one each from the prosecutorial, judicial, national security, correctional sectors, and a tribal representative
  • One member from the Federal Working Group
  • One member selected by the National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact Council
  • One member selected by the Conference of Chief Justices
  • One member each from the American Probation and Parole Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Major County Sheriffs of America, the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, the National District Attorneys Association, and the National Sheriffs’ Association.

All CJIS APB members are appointed by the FBI Director on behalf of the U.S. Attorney General.

Since 1994, the FBI Director has approved more than 2,300 recommendations made by the CJIS APB, with more than 98 percent of those implemented. The APB meets at least twice every year, and the meetings are open to the public. Those who wish to learn more about the CJIS APB can find information on the FBI’s webpage about the CJIS Advisory Process or email the Advisory Process Management Office at