About the RISS Program
A Proven Resource for Law Enforcement
The mission of the Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) Program is to assist local, state, federal, and tribal criminal justice partners by providing adaptive solutions and services that facilitate information sharing, support criminal investigations, and promote officer safety. RISS has been supporting the law enforcement and criminal justice communities for more than 40 years.
RISS is composed of six regional centers and the RISS Technology Support Center (RTSC). RISS works regionally and on a nationwide basis to respond to the unique crime problems of each region while strengthening the country’s information sharing environment. More than 9,000 local, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement and public safety agencies are members of RISS. RISS is used and trusted by hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers and criminal justice professionals in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, Canada, England, and New Zealand.
RISS offers secure information sharing and communications capabilities, critical analytical and investigative support services, and event deconfliction to enhance officer safety. RISS supports efforts against organized and violent crime, gang activity, drug activity, terrorism and violent extremism, human trafficking, identity theft, cybercrime, and other regional priorities.
Congress appropriates funds each year for RISS. The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), U.S. Department of Justice, administers the RISS Program. BJA provides funding oversight and program management for the RISS Program. Although RISS is congressionally funded, it is locally managed. RISS also partners with other entities, such as the Partner Engagement, Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE), on projects that help support and further the RISS mission.
RISS also developed the RISS Adaptive Strategy, which defines RISS’s mission, vision, values, and primary goals and objectives.
Governance and Support
The following groups and individuals facilitate RISS’s operations, policy development, and implementation.
RISS National Policy Group (RNPG)
The RNPG is composed of the six RISS Center Directors, who are the voting members of the RNPG, as well as the chair of each center’s policy board or his or her designee. The RNPG is responsible for strategic planning, resolution of operational issues, advancement of information sharing, and decision making affecting the six RISS Centers, the nationwide organization, RISS technology initiatives, and service delivery.
RISS Center Staff
The RISS Centers employ staff with expertise in management, criminal justice, law enforcement, intelligence, investigative techniques, analytical processes, training and publications development, field support, and information technology to assist agencies with their investigations and prosecutorial efforts. RISS staff are prohibited from direct involvement in law enforcement operations.
RISS Policy Boards
Each RISS Center has a policy board composed of representatives from member agencies in the center’s multistate region and the Director of the in-region RISS Center. The policy board serves as the governing authority for the center and may provide direction affecting center policy, operation, and administration. The Director is responsible for implementing policies and directives of the center’s policy board and administers and manages center activities. There are more than 100 policy board members nationwide.
RISS National Coordinator
The RISS National Coordinator represents RISS at the nationwide level, ensures optimal communication and coordination efforts with RISS partners, and fosters opportunities to present RISS solutions for information sharing, deconfliction, and investigative support.
RISS membership has grown to more than 9,000 law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, including more than 140,000 authorized users.
Agency membership is required for access to most RISS resources (some exceptions include RISSafe, RISSGang, and RISS ATIX). Membership is a critical component to ensuring a trusted RISS network of users as well as the integrity of the overall information sharing process and RISSNET and its related programs and applications. 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; and corrections agencies, as well 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 bylaws.
Law enforcement agencies may access RISSafe, the RISS Officer Safety Website, RISSGang, and other resources—after completing a thorough vetting process—without the requirement to establish RISS membership. In addition, individuals participating in RISS ATIX also complete a vetting and approval process prior to accessing ATIX resources.
RISS has established information sharing partnerships with member and nonmember law enforcement agencies at the state and federal levels, based on federated identity technology. RISS’s federated partnerships provide its members with access to numerous information services that are available on partner systems and provide users of partner systems with access to resources on RISSNET.
The RISS Secure Cloud (RISSNET) is a sensitive but unclassified (SBU) system that connects disparate systems, provides bidirectional sharing, and offers a single simultaneous search of connected systems. Hundreds of resources (most owned by RISS partners) rely on the RISSNET infrastructure to share millions of records among and between law enforcement personnel from all levels. Currently, more than 80 systems are connected or pending connection to RISSNET. More than 44.2 million records are available through these and other resources.
RISSNET and its related applications have been instrumental in facilitating secure information sharing among law enforcement agencies and officers at all levels of government across the country. RISSNET is an effective, proven network that partners rely on to share information, collaborate efforts, connect and solve cases, and stay safe. In 2016, RISSNET reached its 20th year as one of the nation’s premiere secure law enforcement networks.
RISS has developed a number of resources accessible via RISSNET that are critical to the law enforcement community’s mission. Some of those resources are listed below.
Nationwide Initiatives and Partnerships
RISS supports numerous nationwide and federal partnerships that help enhance and expand efficient and effective information sharing among the criminal justice community. RISS is a key player in federal information sharing initiatives that contribute to significant cost and time savings through enhanced criminal justice information sharing, both horizontally and vertically, in ways that further strengthen public and officer safety and federal, state, local, and tribal agency and staff relationships across the nation. Currently, more than 1,000 federal agencies are members of RISS. Examples of RISS’s nationwide and federal partnerships include the following:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal (LEEP)
- Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC)
- Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (Global)
- High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA)
- Law Enforcement National Data Exchange (N-DEx)
- National Criminal Intelligence Resource Center (NCIRC)
- National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS)
- National Fusion Center Association (NFCA)
- National Virtual Pointer System (NVPS)
- National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C)
- Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) Intelink-U
- Partner Engagement, Information Sharing Environment (PE-ISE)
- United States Attorneys’ Offices (USAO)
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN)
- U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
These and other partnerships have resulted in streamlined processes, increased information sharing and officer access to critical data, safer officers and communities, and the advancement of important technology solutions. Some of those are highlighted below.
As part of the Northeast Fusion Center Intelligence Project, RISS connected 19 fusion centers’ intelligence systems to RISSIntel via RISSNET. RISS is expanding this project to its southern region and plans to connect additional fusion center systems during FY2017.
Through the N-DEx and RISS partnership, access to N-DEx is available to authorized RISSNET users via LEEP without an additional username or password. This capability enables officers to obtain information quickly, saves officers’ time, streamlines operations, and enhances law enforcement’s ability to respond to crime effectively and efficiently. Work continues to expand this capability nationwide.
As foundational members of the Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) Working Group and the National Identity Exchange Federation, HSIN and RISS have made significant progress in implementing bidirectional, secure single sign-on between the two systems. This integration provides a streamlined approach that enables users to quickly and easily access critical information.
RISS is at the forefront in providing simplified, federated access. Federated partnerships streamline users’ ability to access information quickly without logging on to multiple systems. Additional funding will enable RISS to add additional federated partners and users, thereby offering additional resources to law enforcement personnel in a secure, efficient manner. More than 35,000 users from trusted partner systems are using Federated Identity to access RISSNET resources, including the FBI’s Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal; the Chicago, Illinois, Police Department; and the Pennsylvania Justice Network.