This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page provides information about the Regional
Information Sharing Systems (RISS) Program. This page will be updated, revised,
and republished as it becomes appropriate to provide additional information about
the RISS program in this format.
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Table of contents
- What is RISS?
- Where are the six RISS Centers located and what regions do they serve?
- How do I contact a RISS Center?
- How is RISS different from other nationwide information sharing programs?
- How is RISS funded?
- Who governs RISS and what is the role of the RISS National Policy Group?
- What is the role of the RISS Technology Support Center?
- What is the role of the Institute for Intergovernmental Research?
- Who are the primary customers of RISS?
- What services does RISS provide to its member agencies?
- What is the RISS Secure Intranet (RISSNET™)?
- What resources are available via RISSNET?
- Who is connected to RISSNET?
- How does an authorized user access RISSNET?
- What is the RISSNET Portal?
- What security measures are in place to ensure that information transmissions are secure when using RISSNET?
- What is the U.S. Department of Justice Global Justice Extensible Markup Language (XML)?
- Are RISS criminal intelligence databases subject to 28 Code of Federal Regulations Part 23 (28 CFR Part 23)?
- Does RISS consider privacy rights?
- What is RISSIntel?
- What is RISSLeads?
- What is RISS ATIX™?
- What is the RISSGang™ Program?
- What is RISSafe™?
- What is the RISS Officer Safety Website?
- How has RISS partnered with fusion centers?
- How does RISS make use of Federated Identity Management?
- What is the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM)?
- How does RISS measure the effectiveness of the program?
What is RISS?
RISS is a proven, trusted, and innovative program that supports local, state, federal, and tribal criminal
justice and public safety agencies in their effort to successfully resolve criminal investigations and ensure
officer safety. RISS consists of six regional centers and the RISS Technology Support Center. RISS supports
efforts against organized and violent crime, gang activity, drug activity, human trafficking, identity theft,
and other regional priorities, while promoting officer safety. RISS offers law enforcement agencies and officers
full-service delivery, from the beginning of an investigation to the ultimate prosecution and conviction of criminals.
An officer can query intelligence databases, retrieve information from investigative systems, solicit assistance
from research staff, utilize surveillance equipment, receive training, and use analytical staff to help prosecute
criminals. For more information about RISS, visit www.riss.net
Where are the six RISS Centers located and what regions do they serve?
Middle Atlantic-Great Lakes Organized Crime Law Enforcement Network®
Provides services to Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia, as well as Australia, Canada, and England.
Mid-States Organized Crime Information Center®
Provides services to Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, as well as Canada.
New England State Police Information Network®
Provides services to Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, as well as Canada.
Rocky Mountain Information Network®
Provides services to Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, as well as Canada.
Regional Organized Crime Information Center®
Provides services to Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Western States Information Network®
Provides services to Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington, as well as Canada, Guam and New Zealand.
How do I contact a RISS Center?
Contact your in-region RISS Center, or visit www.riss.net
for additional information.
How is RISS different from other nationwide information sharing programs?
RISS, among other criminal justice programs, has different roles and responsibilities;
distinctive operational capabilities; multiple sources, formats, and mechanisms to collect and
disseminate information; and different customers. Systems such as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Homeland Security
Information Network (HSIN), the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Law Enforcement
Online (LEO), the National Security Agency’s (NSA) Intelink-U, and RISS represent critical components of the Information Sharing Environment
and offer valuable services for their individual customers. These systems are not
duplicative. Each system provides primary services or programs that make it distinct. RISS
maintains criminal intelligence databases, the
RISSLeads Bulletin Board
RISS Automated Trusted Information Exchange™ (ATIX)
the RISSGang™ Program
, the RISS Officer Safety Website, and a variety of
other investigative tools and systems. As a true network, RISS also connects disparate systems that otherwise may
not be able to communicate and seamlessly share information. In addition to automated
capabilities, RISS provides investigative support, such as analytical services, equipment loans,
technical assistance, case funds support, and intelligence research.
Creating one single national information sharing system is not the answer for ensuring
seamless communications and information sharing. The goal is to build a capability for disparate
systems to connect and communicate by leveraging proven technology. RISS provides a mature
and proven infrastructure that is ready to meet the national demand for a seamless information
sharing system by connecting disparate systems. These connected systems share information
and intelligence both bidirectionally and through direct data transfer. RISS members are able to
search the RISS Secure Intranet, known as RISSNET™, and connected systems with a single
query in a secure web-based and trusted environment.
How is RISS funded?
Who governs RISS and what is the role of the RISS National Policy Group?
The RISS National Policy Group (RNPG) is composed of the six RISS Center Directors
and the chair of each RISS Center’s policy board or his or her designee. Each RISS Center has an established policy
board or executive committee composed of representatives from member criminal justice
agencies in the Center’s multistate region. The primary purpose of center policy boards is to
provide direction affecting center policy, operation, and administration. The RNPG is
responsible for strategic planning, resolution of operational issues, advancement of information
sharing, and decision making affecting the RISS Centers, the nationwide organization, service
delivery, member agencies, and related partner organizations.
What is the role of the RISS Technology Support Center?
The RISS Technology Support Center (RTSC) is located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The RTSC Manager
oversees the operations of the RTSC, which consists of the Applications Development Group and the
Intranet Operations Group. The RTSC staff supports technical programs and projects that span the
RISS enterprise and support the RISS Centers, including the infrastructure and security of RISSNET
and database applications development.
What is the role of the Institute for Intergovernmental Research®?
The Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR) is a Florida-based nonprofit research
and training organization specializing in law enforcement, juvenile justice, and criminal justice
issues. IIR serves as the technical service provider for ongoing technical training, research, and analysis services to
the RISS Program through the support of grant awards received from BJA. IIR supports RISS
by providing project coordination activities, policy development assistance, research and
program planning, performance measurement and evaluation, meeting coordination, training, and
information systems support. IIR provides for management support and spending related to the
operation of RISSNET and RISS database applications, including liaison to RISS information
technology operational and applications development components, coordination of information
technology support, and processing of technology purchases and acquisitions. IIR has worked
with the RISS Program for more than 30 years providing technical assistance support services. For more
information about IIR, visit www.iir.com
Who are the primary customers of RISS?
The primary customers of RISS and RISSNET are local, state, federal, and tribal law
enforcement member agency personnel. Currently, RISS supports the investigative and
prosecution efforts of member agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories,
Australia, Canada, England, and New Zealand. RISS also provides services and tools to thousands of public
safety and private sector partners through the RISS ATIX
RISS membership has grown to more than 8,900 law enforcement and criminal justice
agencies, including more than 110,000 access officers.
Agency membership is required for access to RISS resources, except for RISSafe,
RISSGang, and RISS ATIX (see below). Membership is a critical component to ensuring a
trusted network of users as well as the integrity of the overall information sharing process and of
RISSNET and its related programs and applications. Agency membership fees are nominal.
Each RISS Center has implemented a membership application and policy board approval
process. Agency membership is typically open to all local, state, federal, and tribal law
enforcement agencies; prosecution agencies; corrections agencies; and others, such as
multijurisdictional task forces and regulatory agencies with law enforcement or criminal
investigative authority. However, it is important to note that membership in a RISS Center
is governed by the specific RISS Center’s rules, procedures, policies, constitution, and/or
Law enforcement agencies may access RISSafe
, the RISS Officer Safety Website,
, and other resources—after completing a thorough vetting process—
without the requirement to establish RISS membership. In addition, those individuals participating in RISS ATIX also complete
a vetting and approval process prior to accessing ATIX resources.
What services does RISS provide to its member agencies?
RISS provides services to support law enforcement member agency investigations and prosecutions.
RISS services include:
- Information sharing through RISSNET
- Investigative support and research
- Analysis of criminal activity data and development of diverse and varied analytical products
- Loan of specialized investigative equipment
- Loan of confidential funds
- Specialized training, conferences, and meetings
- Publications, bulletins, and educational materials
- Field services support and technical assistance
What is the RISS Secure Intranet (RISSNET™)?
In 1997, RISS built a secure national information sharing intranet, known as RISSNET. RISSNET is a secure
Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU)/Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) law enforcement information sharing
cloud provider. RISSNET provides access to millions of pieces of data, offers bidirectional sharing of information,
and connects disparate state, local, and federal systems. Agencies can easily connect to RISSNET, share information
and intelligence in a secure environment, and query multiple systems simultaneously. Currently, 86 systems are
connected or pending connection to RISSNET. In addition, more than 400 resources are available via RISSNET to
authorized users; the owners of these resources rely on RISSNET for its secure infrastructure. RISSNET enables
users to connect quickly using secure web-based technologies at both National Institute of Standards and Technology
(NIST) Level 2 and NIST Level 3.
What resources are available on RISSNET?
Resources available on RISSNET include:
- RISSIntel—criminal intelligence databases with nationwide search capabilities.
Enables users to conduct a federated search of one, some, or all connected intelligence systems. More than 3 million records
are available for search through the RISS intelligence databases. Millions more are available bidirectionally from connected systems.
- RISSafe—officer safety event deconfliction system—available to all law enforcement agencies.
Provides the capability to identify conflicts between planned law enforcement operations.
- RISS Officer Safety Website - serves as a nationwide repository for issues related to officer safety.
- RISSGang Program—includes a specialized intelligence database used to collect
and disseminate information on criminal gangs and gang members, as well as a website, bulletin board, and library—available to all law enforcement agencies.
- RISS ATIX—a secure platform for law enforcement, public safety, and the private sector to share information—includes
secure web pages, discussion forum, document library, and secure e-mail.
- RISSLinks™—instant data visualization and link analysis of database information
- RISS Investigative Leads Bulletin Board (RISSLeads)—secure electronic bulletin board that allows law enforcement
agencies to post information regarding a particular case or other law enforcement issues.
- RISSNET Search—a search engine that canvasses multiple information sources.
- RISS Center websites
- RISS technical assistance website (TECHPage)
- Various state, regional, federal, and specialized criminal intelligence databases and resources.
- Secure e-mail
Who is connected to RISSNET?
Currently, 86 systems are connected or pending connection to RISSNET. RISSNET serves state law enforcement systems,
High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) network systems, and federal and other systems electronically connected to RISSNET.
Examples of connected systems include:
- FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS) Enterprise Portal
- Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Electronic Learning Portal
- Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIU)
- Nlets—The International Justice and Public Safety Network
- El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC)
- National Virtual Pointer System (NVPS)
- U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division
- National Gang Intelligence Center (NGIC)
- U.S. Secret Service, National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC)
- California Department of Justice, Bureau of Investigation
- Oregon State Intelligence Network
- Utah Law Enforcement Information Network
- Wyoming Criminal Justice Information Network
- Colorado Law Enforcement Intelligence Network
- National Security Agency (NSA) Intelink-U
- Delaware State Police Intelligence System
How does an authorized user access RISSNET?
Access to RISSNET can be achieved through a single computer connection using an
Internet Service Provider (ISP) or via a RISSNET node connection of an agency information
technology system. Member agency staff members should contact their in-region RISS Center
for an enrollment package. The enrollment package provides step-by-step instructions for
connecting to RISSNET. In addition, RISS has moved to an industry standards secure
web-based authentication technology. To find out how to connect to RISSNET, contact your in-region RISS Center.
For RISS Center contact information, visit www.riss.net/Centers/Centers.
What is the RISSNET Portal?
The RISSNET Portal provides users with a streamlined log-on process, ease of access to
resources, and enhanced search capabilities to RISSNET and partner resources. For additional information,
What security measures are in place to ensure that information transmissions are secure when using RISSNET?
The technical capabilities and systems architecture implemented by RISS allow
authorized users to interact electronically with one another in a secure environment. RISSNET
protects these transmissions through the use of encryption, user authentication, Internet protocol
security standards, and firewalls to prevent unauthorized access.
What is the U.S. Department of Justice Global Justice Extensible Markup Language (XML)?
RISS uses XML (Extensible Markup Language), a worldwide technology standard, for communication between web-based applications.
RISS supports multiple XML exchanges, both in-house formats and community-based standards, to facilitate the sharing of criminal
intelligence information with RISS member agencies and law enforcement standards. RISS has been actively involved with the
Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (Global) Intelligence Working Group to develop standards for the justice community.
Data exchanges developed by RISS are compatible with such standards as the Global Reconciliation Data Dictionary (RDD), the Global
Justice XML Data Model (GJXDM), the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), and the Logical Entity eXchange Specifications (LEXS).
For more information on Global and XML, visit www.it.ojp.gov.
Are RISS criminal intelligence databases subject to 28 Code of Federal Regulations Part 23 (28 CFR Part 23)?
All RISS criminal intelligence databases comply with 28 CFR Part 23, issued by BJA.
All criminal intelligence databases electronically connected to RISSNET, which are available for
member agency access, must also comply with 28 CFR Part 23. RISS provides member
agencies with training and on-site technical assistance to ensure compliance with the regulation.
For additional information on 28 CFR Part 23, visit www.riss.net/Policy/CFR
Does RISS consider privacy rights?
RISS firmly recognizes the need to ensure that an individual’s constitutional rights, civil
liberties, civil rights, and privacy interests are protected throughout the intelligence process.
RISS endorses the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan
recommendation to ensure that
"the collection, submission, access, storage, and dissemination of criminal intelligence
information conforms to the privacy and constitutional rights of individuals, groups, and
organizations" and that "law enforcement agencies shall adopt, at a minimum, the standards
required by the Criminal Intelligence Systems Operating Policies federal regulation
Part 23 and is based on the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (Global) privacy
guidelines. All RISS member agencies have also agreed to comply with the requirements of
28 CFR Part 23 with respect to any criminal information they submit into applicable RISS
criminal intelligence databases. RISS strongly encourages its member agencies and, indeed, all
law enforcement agencies to voluntarily adopt appropriate and clearly defined privacy and
security safeguards for all agency intelligence missions to manage and control collection,
retention, and dissemination activities.
What is RISSIntel?
All six RISS Criminal Intelligence Databases (RISSIntel) are electronically connected via RISSNET.
In addition, the RISSIntel user interface provides for real-time, online federated search of a number
of connected RISS partner intelligence databases. These include various state systems and CalGang and
provide the capability for a federated search of one, some, or all connected databases. RISSIntel contains
millions of records. These records include individuals, organizations, and associates suspected of involvement
in criminal activity, as well as locations, vehicles, weapons, and telephone numbers. When
information is located in the database, called a "hit," the users are referred to agencies that have
additional information. The databases are designed to encourage exchange of information and
coordination among member agencies investigating the same individuals or organizations.
Member agencies may access the databases via RISSNET or may contact center intelligence technician research
staff directly, via telephone or e-mail, for assistance.
Member agencies are able to submit large volumes of data for inclusion in the databases
through software applications implemented by RISS.
One of RISS’s primary goals is to provide law enforcement with a conduit for sharing criminal intelligence information.
By leveraging the RISSIntel applications, agencies can utilize existing technology through an instance of RISSIntel
known as RISS7. Offering this service eliminates the need for agencies to develop new stand-alone systems. Instead,
they can operate an autonomous criminal intelligence database to aid in their investigative efforts while being a part
of the broader RISSNET community.
What is RISSLeads?
RISSLeads is a secure electronic bulletin board available via RISSNET that allows
member law enforcement agencies to post information regarding a particular case or other law
enforcement issues. Case information is posted with the intent of generating investigative leads.
Member agencies share intelligence by viewing and responding to posted information.
RISSLeads allows geographically disparate law enforcement professionals to convene
electronically to discuss crime trends or specific cases and share investigative techniques. Both open and private
information sharing platforms are available depending on investigative or information sharing needs.
What is RISS ATIX™?
RISS ATIX leverages the RISSNET infrastructure to provide a secure platform for law enforcement, public safety,
first responders, and the private sector involved in securing our nation from terrorism and other disasters to
share information. Community groups include local, county, state, and tribal levels of emergency management,
law enforcement, and government, as well as public and private utilities, transportation, agriculture, chemical
manufacturing, private security, environmental protection, banking and finance, and hospitality industries.
The RISS ATIX resources include secure web pages, secure discussion forums, a document library, and secure e-mail.
For more information on RISS ATIX, visit www.riss.net/Resources/ATIX
What is the RISSGang™ Program?
The RISSGang Program consists of the RISS National Gang Intelligence Database, the RISSGang Website,
informational resources, and a secure bulletin board. The database, which is 28 CFR Part 23-compliant,
provides law enforcement agencies with access to more than 208,000 gang records, including suspects, organizations,
weapons, locations, and vehicles, as well as visual imagery of gang members, gang symbols, and gang graffiti.
The website provides a vast amount of resources, information, and publications. The bulletin board provides
investigators with secure communications for sharing gang-related information. In an effort to increase the
sharing of gang information, RISS is providing access to the RISSGang Program resources to all criminal justice
agencies without the requirement to establish RISS membership.
For more information on the RISSGang Program, visit www.riss.net/Resources/RISSGang
What is RISSafe™?
RISSafe is an officer safety event deconfliction system. RISSafe stores and maintains data on planned law enforcement
events—such as raids, controlled buys, and surveillances—with the goal of identifying and alerting affected agencies
and officers of potential conflicts impacting law enforcement efforts. RISSafe is used in conjunction with mapping
software to verify data on event locations when an event is entered into the system. If a conflict is identified,
immediate notification to the submitting officer occurs, as well as notification to the conflicted officers by a RISSafe
Watch Center. RISSafe makes a significant contribution towards enhancing officer safety and supporting criminal investigations.
For more information on RISSafe, visit www.riss.net/Resources/RISSafe
What is the Officer Safety Website?
The RISS Officer Safety Website serves as a nationwide repository for issues related to officer safety,
such as concealments, hidden weapons, armed and dangerous threats, officer safety videos, special reports,
and training. RISSafe and the RISS Officer Safety Website are two important components of the
U.S. Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Officer Safety Initiative, along with VALOR and the Bulletproof
Vest Initiative. Efforts are under way to bidirectionally interconnect the secure VALOR Website with
the RISS Officer Safety Website.
How has RISS partnered with fusion centers?
How does RISS make use of Federated Identity Management?
In 2004, RISS recognized the need for the secure sharing of critical justice-related
information among trusted partner agencies without requiring each partner to maintain and use
each other’s security credentials with the initiation of the Trusted Credential Project (TCP).
After thoroughly investigating various technologies, RTSC identified Federated Identity as
the most suitable model for meeting the requirements of the TCP.
RISS’s early involvement in Federated Identity Management allowed it to participate in
two groundbreaking nationwide justice-related information sharing initiatives: (1) the Global
Federated Identity and Privilege Management (GFIPM) project and (2) the Law Enforcement
Information Sharing Program (LEISP) Federated Identity project. It also led to charter membership in the National
Identity Exchange Federation (NIEF).
RISS’s participation in these projects has so far allowed it to provide access to RISSNET users to the federal
Joint Automated Booking System (JABS), the National Gang Intelligence Center Website, and other resources. As of
December 31, 2011, there were more than 7,800 users from trusted partner systems using Federated Identity Management
to access RISSNET resources. RISS has also showcased this technology by supporting the Nationwide Suspicious Activity
Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI). RISSNET and LEO users can now access SAR data, available from the National Criminal
Intelligence Resource Center, via RISSNET.
What is the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM)?
NIEM’s mission is to develop a unified strategy, partnerships, and technical
implementations for national information sharing by joining together communities of interest.
NIEM leverages the data exchange standards efforts successfully implemented by Global and
extends the GJXDM to facilitate timely, secure information sharing across the whole of the
justice, public safety, emergency and disaster management, intelligence, and homeland security enterprise.
For more information about NIEM, visit
How does RISS measure the effectiveness of the program?
RISS maintains a comprehensive performance plan and reports and analyzes performance
on a regular basis. Program effectiveness is measured by the delivery and acceptance of RISS
reports, data analysis, educational products, policy documents, strategic plans, performance
measures, and feedback from RISS Center management and staff and the BJA Program Office.