NCIC Certification Study Guide

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NCIC Information


The NCIC network is a nationwide, computerized information system established to serve all criminal justice agencies on a local, state, and Federal level. It was established in 1967 to help the criminal justice community perform its duties by providing a computerized filing system of timely, accurate, documented criminal justice information.

The NCIC System consists of the following:

  • the NCIC computer,
  • NCIC terminals/ PCs linked to the NCIC computer,
  • agencies that access NCIC,
  • personnel within the agencies who utilize the NCIC, including operators,
  • the information itself which is contained in NCIC files.

The FBI, as manager of the system, is responsible for the complete operation of the NCIC computer which is located at FBI headquarters in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The NCIC is operational 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

NCIC serves criminal justice agencies in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Territories and Canada.


The NCIC may be directly accessed through a PC or terminal by any authorized criminal justice agency with a valid Originating Agency Identifier (ORI) Code. The ORI is a nine-character code (beginning with "NY" for agencies in New York State) that identifies the agency which originated an NCIC transaction.

NCIC 2000

"NCIC 2000" refers to the recent replacement of the original NCIC computer system. (For purposes of Secure Services, we simply refer to "NCIC" without referencing "2000.") The enhanced system includes new databases, such as the Sexual Offender Registry, and has expanded capabilities such as information linking, whereby two or more related records in the system are associated so that an inquiry on one will retrieve them all. Also, date formats were changed to include the full year/century (YYYYMMDD).


The NCIC maintains files of data on stolen property, certain offenders (see below), and other information which is used by law enforcement personnel (sometimes referred to as "Hot Files"). Currently, the Secure Services system only provides access to the Person Files (see below) and will NOT access or search the property files such as stolen guns, vehicles, boats, etc.

Note: NCIC and III (Interstate Identification Index) are not interchangeable terms. III is a separate computer data file (refer to the III section of this workbook), although it is certainly possible that an offender in III also has data in one of the other NCIC files.

A single request for NCIC information via Secure Services will result in a search of the following NCIC Person files:

  • Convicted Sex Offender Registry File - Individuals who have been registered as sex offenders or violent sexual predators.
  • Deported Felon File - The INS enters records for criminal aliens who have been deported for drug or firearm trafficking and/or serious violent crimes. Re-entry into the U.S. of a deported alien is a violation of Title 18, USC, Section 1326.
  • Convicted Person on Supervised Release File - Information on convicted persons in supervised release programs, including probation and parole.
  • Foreign Fugitive File - Individuals who are wanted by other countries for committing crimes that would be felonies if committed in the U.S.
  • Missing Person File - Individuals who are reported missing, including juveniles, persons suffering from a physical/mental disability or are senile, victims of kidnapping or parental abduction, victims of catastrophe, etc.
  • Wanted Person File - Individuals for whom a federal, felony or serious misdemeanor warrant is outstanding, and whose whereabouts are unknown, when extradition has been authorized.
  • Protection Order File - Implemented in May 1997, this file contains protection orders issued for the purpose of preventing violent or threatening acts of harassment against, contact/communication with, or physical proximity of, another person.
  • Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File - Implemented in October 1995, this file contains information on terrorist organizations, and violent criminal gangs. Data includes characteristic tattoos, manner of dress, identifying hand signals, etc.


Authorized Secure Services users may request NCIC information based upon a name search. On the Criminal Justice Repository Search screen, in the "Files to Search" box, simply check "NCIC Search." This may be done in conjunction with the request for a New York State and III name search (click "Select All" or the individual files you desire).

NCIC uses the criteria explained below in its search to determine if a candidate is returned. Name, Sex, and Date of Birth (DOB) are required fields for a name search.

  • Name- the name that you enter will be searched against records that are phonetically similar. Some variation between the way you spell a name and the way that it is on file with NCIC will not necessarily preclude you from getting that individual returned as a candidate, especially if it "sounds" similar (e.g., Karl will match to Carl).
  • DOB- NCIC requires an exact match on month and day of birth, but searches plus or minus one year on the year of birth you enter.
  • Sex code- the system will only search for candidate records containing the same sex code that you enter. If you enter "Male," no female candidates would be returned, and vice versa. However, if you enter "Unknown," NCIC will search for records of either sex that match on the other criteria entered.
  • Race code- If you are not positive of the subject's race, it is recommended that you enter "Unknown," because the NCIC will then search for records of any race that match on the other criteria you enter. If you enter "Black," the NCIC system will not return any Caucasian candidates, and vice versa.


Authorized Secure Services users may also request NCIC data by doing an Inquiry, if the subject's FBI Number* or Social Security Number* is known. On the Criminal Justice Repository Inquiry screen, in the section labelled "Specify the Data Segments Desired in the Response," click the "NCIC Search" box. All the NCIC Person Files will be searched. (See the Secure Services Section of this workbook for more information.)

* Required by the NCIC for an inquiry. However, if you do an NCIC inquiry in conjunction with a request for a New York State rap (click "Select All" or specify the individual files you desire), you can enter one of the other identifiers- such as NYSID Number- and DCJS will supply FBI# or SSN when it sends the request on to the NCIC.


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