After the Webinar: Investigations Made Easier with Nlets. Q&A with the Presenters

Webinar presenters Jennifer Viets and Matt Butler answered a number of your questions after their presentation, Investigations Made Easier with Nlets. Here are just a few of their responses.


Audience Question: What is the best way to find out who your Nlets rep is?

Matt Butler: One of the best ways to find out who the Nlets rep is to go on There are some resources where you can find the current representative for your state or agency.


Audience Question: Is Nlets is able to assist Adult Protective Service investigators or if they provide services for law enforcement only? How might that end up working?

Matt Butler: So, if you have a valid ORI, we can assist you with running some transactions, and actually get the response sent right back to your ORI.


Audience Question: If we don’t have access to a certain query, how do we request it? 

Matt Butler: So, a lot of that is going to be based on the security level of your ORI. They’ve got four different levels. So, there’s, A, C, D, and Z. Usually your state rep determines what level of security your ORI needs. The letter A gives you access to administrative messages, C is criminal history, D is driver information, and Z is any other Nlets message type. So, you can actually find out what kind of permissions your ORI has by running a TQ on your ORI and get that information of what level permissions you have. But if you need assistance with that, by all means, contact the Nlets Service Center at 800-528-4020, or And we can look that information up for your ORI.


Audience Question: Is there a generic state code or region code that can be used when running a query and PAQ, or do you have to run each state separately? 

Matt Butler: You can run that query to a couple of different options, and we’ll send it out, but you can also run it to Z1 and Z1 will send it out to all states, and you’ll get back 50 responses, but you might get a hit and there. It’s a great way to generate a lead.


Audience Question: How far back do these records go? For example, a vehicle from the early 1970s if she ran a VIN, will she end up getting a hit? 

Matt Butler: With NICB and their resources. If it’s entered in their database, chances are they’re going to have it. They don’t purge it very often. Jen, do you know how often the stolen vehicle queries, how often NCIC purges that?

Jennifer Viets: For NCIC, it’s the year of entry plus four years.

Matt Butler: Okay, so, yeah, NICB is a great resource for that, as Jennifer pointed out.


Audience Question: Where can someone find information about other message keys and resources you might not have mentioned today and find out whether a particular state support set message KM. Assuming the second part of that, is by running that query? But, or does that have to be done at the ORI level? 

Matt Butler: So, is a great resource to tell you which states can perform and respond to which queries. And then the wiki, which is located at There’s a little search box in the top right. So, you can go to the table of contents. It breaks those transactions down into 49 or 50 categories. But if you’re looking for something specific, use that search box that’s in the top right, search what it is you’re looking for. You’re going to get back a list of responses that will help you identify that message key that you’re looking for.


Audience Question: About the RQ, the vehicle registration query. Can you talk again about the RQ Message Key and using it designation code of NA?

Matt Butler: Yeah, absolutely. So, running an RQ to the destination of NA will give you border crossing information from NICB. So, they also retain a list that’s provided by Customs and Border Patrol of all those LPRs that are at the CBP stations there. So, as you’re exiting our country and going into another, or the opposite way around, right? Somebody’s coming in from a foreign country into ours. All of those license plate reads are sent to NICB. And NICB then takes that information and ties it to vehicles. And so, if you run an RQ to NA, as the destination code, you’ll get back any border crossings that vehicle has been involved in.


Audience Question: Can we repost the Railroad Crossing link? Oh, from the slides I’m guessing. 

Matt Butler: Absolutely. So, here’s the link:


Audience Question: How do we search for past search history on a person by name or driver’s license number? 

Matt Butler: So, maybe referring to the rand log searches, which Jennifer hit on. So, there are two different options there. There actually are some Nlets message keys that the end-user can utilize if they’re authorized to do so. The NLQ is the initial query that gets ran. And you can put in your own search terms, like a person’s name or a date of birth. You can also utilize words like, “and” or the word “or” to help you kind of narrow down those situations. So, the NLQ will return to you a list of transactions that occurred with your search terms. You can then use the NFQ, or the Nlets full query to get that data back as it was presented or originally passed to the end-user. Today, because a lot of our messages are sent, in XML, which, you know, it’s great for processing messages back and forth between agnostic systems, but it makes things a little difficult to read, it’s not very human friendly. We’ll also transform that NFQ into a text format, something that’s easy to read for investigators, dispatchers, and law enforcement users.


Audience Question: Does Nlets have any health insurance info that might be useful for a missing person investigation, for example, if they’re a patient at a facility? 

Matt Butler: No, not that I’m aware of.


Audience Question: Does Nlets have access to obtain the names of individuals crossing the border similar to how we can run a vehicle and see the border crossings?

Matt Butler: Okay, so yeah there is an IAQ, which is the immigration alien query that you can utilize, and you can find out a lot of great information on our wiki about that.


Audience Question: Can you clarify what you were saying about the designation NL and what makes it different from Z1?

Matt Butler: Sure. Nlets supports what is called “50 state queries” So, if you sent a DQ or RQ to NL, what we attempt to do is filter out all those not on files for you. And so, if you send an IQ, for example, which is the initial identity query that you’re going to do in criminal history. If you send it to NL, instead of getting back 48 or 49 not-on-files and, and you’ve got that one diamond in the rough. What we try to do is consolidate all those queries. Now, I will mention one little caveat here, which is when you run an IQ to the destination of NL. We don’t return the result to you for about a minute to a minute and a half and that’s on purpose. We want to give all of the states the opportunity to respond to us. We’re intercepting those transactions on your behalf. As they come across and, you know, they’ve got standard language, like “not on file” or “subject not found”, we filter those out. We put them in a list where we inform the end-user that the state responded but did not return a positive hit. Below that, if there are any states that just simply didn’t respond, we didn’t hear back from them, we’ll also put those in a separate list. And what we tried to do is give you just the pertinent information so you’re not sorting through 50 different returns. It doesn’t work with every message key. There is a list on the wiki, the of the valid 50 state returns to NL. But if you send an unsupported key, what’s going to happen in that case is we just shotgun it out to everybody. So, you’ll get back 50 state returns. So not all Message Keys are supported, but if you are and it’s very helpful in those investigations to just check everybody. The other thing that we haven’t talked about are region codes. Every state belongs to a region, if you just wanted to send out to that region around, it’s much easier to get 7 or 8 responses rather than 50 and sort them through. But certainly, if you’ve got a subject who is traveling throughout the country, trying to stay a step ahead, sending it to Z1 would be beneficial to send it out to everybody.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of Investigations Made Easier with Nlets.  



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