Are You Missing Critical Data That Could Help Your Investigations?

Are You Missing Critical Data That Could Help Your Investigations?
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2022-11-01
Unit 1 Presentation Materials: Are You Missing Critical Data
Unit 2 Transcript: Are You Missing Critical Data
Unit 3 Workbook: Are You Missing Critical Data
Unit 4 Recording: Are You Missing Critical Data

Investigators are truly some of the most vital assets of the law enforcement profession. Their attention to detail, critical thinking, and methodologies make all the difference in solving crime. However, without the proper tools, this can only go so far. This webinar explores two valuable systems to assist investigations.

This session’s speakers are Matt Butler and Sara Breckon. Matt is the Operations Services Manager for the Nlets where he manages analysts that maintain and troubleshoot the Nlets network and applications that support the Nlets Message Switch. Meanwhile, Sara is the Audit and Training Team Supervisor for the Idaho State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation where he started as a team specialist. Prior to this role, she was a Department of State contractor in Iraq for several years and managed the RF Communications Program for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement’s Airwing.

Specifics of this webinar covered:

  • The Nlets Random Access to Nlets Data (RAND) where queries for data are searched.
  • The amount of data available in the Nlets Message Switch and how it is used for reporting, analysis, and searches.
  • The two means to search RAND and helpful tips on how to maximize these search capabilities.
  • A guide into running an initial query (NLQ), all the information required to run the search, the processing time for each query, an example of what the query process and results look like, and running an NFQ to deliver the entire transaction.
  • How NLQs and NFQs are considered online searches that consequentially become a part of the database of searchable data.
  • The offline search option – how to do an offline search, the details and approvals required for the search, the information you’ll be able to obtain from an offline search, and an example of a search request.
  • The NCIC Off-Line search capability – who manages the system and all the different ways that it can be used, including real-life examples of which part of investigation these can be valuable for.
  • What ORI Cross Matches (OCM) is, its search delimiters, and how it can be used to tie together multiple crime scenes using one subject or vehicle as reference.
  • A deep dive into the Off-line Search Request Form, how the request is sent, the fields to fill out and detailed information to provide for these, and specific examples of the types of investigation and search requested.
  • The processing urgency and response sensitivity options to choose from and how this affects how the search results are delivered.
  • A step-by-step guide in requesting NCIC off-line searches – what is required to request, who to send the request to, and the medium and format in which the results will be sent.
  • The ultimate NCIC off-line search success story in the arrest of Oklahoma City bombing perpetrator, Timothy McVeigh.

Questions from the audience are about:

  • The minimum criteria and parameters required to make a name-based search.
  • Where the search requests should be sent for NCIC and Nlets.
  • Information that requires a security clearance.


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Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “Honestly, the online search option! I would love to have seen more information on that. I didn’t even know it existed, I have only used offline searches a handful of times. Overall, I appreciate how informative and efficient the entire presentation was. Thank you!” — Kylah
  • “I learned about an open-source database for Law Enforcement officers.” — Melvil
  • “NLET system and it what it has to offer for offline search services.” — Pamela
  • “Excellent information that is used every day.” — Robert
  • A complex subject: new users need programmed practice situations to gain expertise in accessing data.” — Bill



Nlets is a self-funded nonprofit, established in 1967 with the objective of connecting law enforcement, justice, and public safety agencies for the purpose of exchanging critical criminal justice information. They strive to ensure that the right information gets to the right person as quickly as possible. Nlets connects more than 1,000,000 users, 45,000 agencies, and 800,000 devices, with more than three billion transactions traversing their secure network last year.



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