A Proven Resource for Law Enforcement

RISS Regions RISS was established more than 40 years ago and is a valuable and cost-effective program that is used and trusted by hundreds of thousands of 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, human trafficking, identity theft, and other regional priorities.

RISS supports thousands of local, state, federal, and tribal criminal justice agencies in their efforts to successfully resolve criminal investigations and ensure officer safety. RISS consists of six regional centers and the RISS Technology Support Center.

RISS is congressionally funded and administered by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). BJA provides funding oversight and program management for the RISS Program. Although RISS is congressionally funded, it is locally managed.

RISS firmly recognizes the need to ensure that an individual’s constitutional rights, civil liberties, civil rights, and privacy interests are protected. RISS has adopted a privacy policy that fully complies with the Criminal Intelligence Systems Operating Policies federal regulation (28 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Part 23) and is based on the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (Global) privacy guidelines. All RISS member agencies have 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 (RISSIntel). RISS strongly encourages its member agencies and all law enforcement agencies to voluntarily adopt appropriate and clearly defined privacy and security safeguards to manage and control collection, retention, and dissemination activities.

A Message From Director Donald Kennedy  Video icon
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RISS Overview  Video icon
Regional Information Sharing Systems
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Regional Information Sharing Systems
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Governance and Support
The following groups and individuals facilitate RISS's operations, policy development, and implementation.

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.

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.

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.

The RISS National Coordinator represents RISS at the enterprise level and serves as an ambassador for the program. The RISS National Coordinator works with local, state, federal, and tribal governmental officials and agencies to help ensure optimal communication and coordination efforts among RISS and its partners. The RISS National Coordinator fosters opportunities to promote RISS solutions for information sharing, deconfliction, and investigative support.

The 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. RTSC staff support technical programs and projects that span the RISS enterprise and support the RISS Centers, including the infrastructure and security of the RISS Secure Cloud (RISSNET) and database applications development.

RISS membership has grown to almost 9,000 law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, including more than 117,000 access officers.

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. For full membership, 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 bylaws.

Some RISS resources are accessible by authorized law enforcement that do not require full RISS membership. These include the RISS Officer Safety Event Deconfliction System (RISSafe), the RISS Officer Safety Website, and the RISSGang Program. In addition, law enforcement and public safety agencies participating in the RISS Automated Trusted Information Exchange (ATIX) are only required to complete a vetting and approval process.

RISS Secure Cloud (RISSNET)
RISSNET is a secure sensitive but unclassified (SBU) 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.

Our nation’s public safety mission requires an interoperable information sharing environment to proactively solve crimes. RISSNET is a critical component in meeting this need. RISSNET also acts as the secure communications infrastructure for other critical resources and investigative tools. There are 86 systems 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.

The ease of use, speed, security, and power of RISSNET have resulted in an increasing demand from agencies and officers to use and access RISSNET. In addition to electronic connectivity, RISSNET resources are available to all RISS member-agency access officers by phone, fax, mail, or e-mail request to center staff. Users are able to connect quickly to RISSNET using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and other appropriate applications.

RISSNET Resources
The RISSIntel user interface provides for real-time, online federated search of more than 35 RISS and partner intelligence databases, including state systems and the California gang intelligence system (CalGang), and does not require the RISSNET user to have a separate user account with the respective partner systems. In addition, there are 10 databases connected through the National Virtual Pointer System (NVPS) that RISS users may query upon the submittal of a record to the RISSIntel databases. Millions of intelligence records are available via RISSIntel bidirectionally from connected partner systems. These records include individuals, organizations, groups, and associates suspected of involvement in criminal activity, as well as locations, vehicles, weapons, and telephone numbers.

Member agencies may access the databases via RISSNET or may contact center intelligence 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.

For additional information regarding RISSIntel: click here

RISSafe is an essential component in helping to ensure that officers across the nation remain safe. Investigative efforts, such as undercover operations, often create the potential for conflict between agencies or officers who are unknowingly working in close proximity to each other. In other cases, agencies or officers may be coordinating an event focusing on the same subject at the same time. In either case, agencies or officers may interfere with each other’s cases, causing investigative efforts to be disrupted or, worse, officers to be unintentionally hurt or killed. RISSafe provides for the controlled and secure monitoring of these operations and the immediate notification of affected parties when conflicts arise.

RISSafe stores and maintains data on planned law enforcement events—such as raids, controlled buys, and surveillances—and identifies and alerts affected agencies and officers of potential conflicts that may impact law enforcement efforts. It is impossible to put a cost on the number of officers RISSafe has already prevented from harm or, worse, death.

The RISSafe Watch Center staff are responsible for assisting officers, entering and monitoring events, responding to conflicts, and notifying affected parties. Currently, 24 RISSafe Watch Centers are operational, 18 of which are operated by organizations other than RISS.

RISS deployed the RISSafe Mobile application. Officers can access RISSafe from their mobile devices, enter events, and receive immediate notification of conflicts. This capability includes the infrastructure to support additional mobile applications, and RISS plans to provide other RISS resources via mobile devices in the future.

RISSafe is the only comprehensive and nationwide deconfliction system that is accessible on a 24/7/365 basis and available free of charge to all law enforcement agencies across the country.

RISSafe is not an intelligence database; there is no criminal predicate required to post an operation. However, when entering an event into RISSafe, officers may include additional information, such as subject, vehicles, and gang data. After data is entered into RISSafe, appropriate information may be sent to a queue in RISSIntel for review by RISS Center intelligence staff or sent to another criminal intelligence system available via RISSNET. After review, only data from RISS member agencies that meets 28 CFR Part 23 guidelines is submitted to RISSIntel. The interaction between RISSIntel and RISSafe provides comprehensive officer safety event and subject deconfliction services.

Since RISSafe’s inception, more than 878,000 operations have been entered and more than 301,000 conflicts have been identified.

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. Registered users of the VALOR Web Portal who are sworn law enforcement are able to access the RISS Officer Safety Website and vice versa.

For additional information regarding RISSafe or the RISS Officer Safety Website: click here

RISS ATIX provides law enforcement, public safety, and critical infrastructure personnel—including public utilities, schools, fire departments, and the chemical industry—with access to homeland security, disaster, and terrorist threat information, as well as secure communications capabilities. RISS ATIX supports public safety professionals across the country and consists of more than 40 different community groups. RISS ATIX resources include secure web pages, a discussion forum, a document library, and secure e-mail.

For additional information regarding RISS ATIX: click here

RISSGang is a comprehensive gang resource that offers a criminal intelligence database, a website, and informational resources. The RISSGang criminal intelligence database provides law enforcement agencies with access to gang information, including suspects, organizations, weapons, photographs, and graffiti. The RISSGang Website contains valuable information, research, and tools. RISSGang contains thousands of database records. RISSGang provides for a federated search, including CalGang and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives GangNet, and is available to all authorized law enforcement.

For additional information regarding RISSGang: click here

RISSLeads provides authorized law enforcement officers with the ability to post information regarding cases, investigative leads, or other law enforcement issues. Authorized users are able to view and respond to posts. Connecting law enforcement officers across jurisdictional boundaries is crucial in detecting and apprehending today’s mobile and sophisticated criminals. RISSLeads is an example of how geographically disparate law enforcement professionals can convene electronically to discuss cases and share investigative techniques. RISSLeads is one location for terrorism watch lists and homeland security information available through RISS.

With the volume of information that is available, it is often difficult to see how information links together. Through RISSLinks, a data-visualization tool, users can create link-analysis charts when viewing records in RISSIntel. When RISSLinks is employed, visual data from a variety of associated records is displayed that enables the users to view associations and make new connections. RISSLinks enables users to visualize connections and produce charts and visual representations to aid in the investigative and prosecutorial process.

Each RISS Center maintains a website to provide users with easy access to RISSIntel and other resources, such as the Cold Case Database, the Forensic Accounting Database, the Pseudoephedrine Violator Tracking System, and the RISS Property and Recovery Tracking System (RISSProp). The number of investigative records available through these different systems exceeds 26 million.

RISS provides secure electronic communications for RISS members to exchange sensitive information. More than 30 million email transactions occur each year.

RISS develops secure hosted websites for partners to share information, post materials, and communicate. There are more than 30 sites housed on RISSNET, including the Assured SBU Network Interoperability Working Group, the National Interagency Fire Center, the Medicaid Fraud Control Units, and the Medicaid Integrity Institute.

RISS Investigative Support Services
RISS offers law enforcement agencies and officers a full range of diverse and far-reaching services and programs to assist agencies, from the beginning of an investigation through the 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 apprehend, prosecute, and convict criminals.

RISS analysts develop specialized analytical products for investigators and prosecutors to increase their ability to identify, detect, and apprehend suspects, as well as to enhance prosecutorial success in court. These products include highly complex and specialized flowcharts, link-analysis charts, crime scene diagrams, and telephone toll analysis reports, as well as financial analysis reports, computer forensic analyses, and audio/video enhancement services.

Digital forensics focuses on the analysis and retrieval of information from computers and digital storage media. Digital forensics analysts uncover deleted files; locate evidence; evaluate the structure of computerized files; analyze other computer and cellular phone activity within hard drives, CD-ROMs, and JPEG images; and analyze e-mail seized during investigations.

Audio and video enhancements have become extremely common inside the courtroom and serve as a finite way of assisting law enforcement and prosecutors in convicting criminals. The enhancement of audio bites or video footage assists law enforcement in identifying suspects. Audio enhancements are useful for undercover operations because analysts have the ability to remove background and frequency noise, enabling investigators to clearly identify the suspects. Analysts have the ability to enhance video footage in order to present a clear picture, which is extremely useful in robbery and burglary cases.

RISS intelligence staff have access to dozens of research tools, specialized databases, public record information, criminal justice information, and data and are able to search, retrieve, compile, and provide a consolidated reporting of findings to officers. This assistance helps officers in need of quick, accurate, and complete information. RISS member-agency access officers may contact center staff by telephone, fax, or e-mail for assistance.

The equipment loaned by RISS makes a substantial difference in building cases and investigating and apprehending criminals. Examples of equipment include body-wire receivers, Global Positioning Systems, cameras, video recorders, specialized lenses, night-vision goggles, night-vision scopes, and ground-penetrating radar systems. RISS Center equipment staff consults with and trains member agencies on the use of equipment and provides expertise in developing specialized equipment.

Member agencies apply for limited funds to purchase information, contraband, stolen property, and other items of an evidentiary nature or to provide for other investigative expenses related to multijurisdictional investigations, such as travel. These funds have been instrumental in apprehending narcotics dealers and gang members.

RISS Centers sponsor or cosponsor training classes, meetings, and conferences that build investigative expertise for member-agency personnel. In addition, each center researches, develops, and distributes numerous publications—including bulletins, flyers, and other criminal intelligence publications—highlighting local and nationwide issues.

RISS field service coordinators provide technical assistance to member agencies to facilitate delivery of RISS services. This may include explanation and guidance regarding how to request services, as well as the use of RISSNET. Field services are a unique component of the RISS Programwhereby individuals with law enforcement backgrounds initiate regular contact with law enforcement and public safety agencies and provide tailored training and consultation to those agencies. This service enables field staff and member agencies to share both system experience and officer needs on a consistent and ongoing basis.

Partnerships and Initiatives
RISS is helping advance the nation’s information sharing environment, often serving as the voice for local and state law enforcement agencies on a nationwide basis. RISS’s unique structure helps meet the needs of local and state law enforcement while partnering with federal agencies on a number of nationwide initiatives, including the Assured SBU Interoperability Initiative. RISSNET is one of four SBU networks participating in this initiative under the auspices of the White House and the Office of the Program Manager, Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE). The goal is to provide simplified sign-on and access to a variety of system-to-system enhancements within an interoperable and protected SBU environment for local, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement, regardless of agency ownership of the individual network. RISS is the only nonfederal partner providing the critical state, local, and tribal law enforcement piece essential to the nation’s information sharing environment.

RISS is at the forefront in providing simplified, federated access. More than 19,000 users from trusted partner systems are using Federated Identity to access RISSNET resources, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Law Enforcement Online, the Chicago Police Department, and the Pennsylvania Justice Network.

RISS continuously seeks, and is sought out by others, to enable new information sharing partnerships that leverage its secure SBU information sharing capabilities. For example, several state Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCUs) have begun using RISSNET to securely share information, strategies, best practices, lessons learned, and other information to help in their detection and prosecution efforts. Ultimately, this project has the potential to support Medicare and other health care fraud investigations and information sharing efforts.

RISS built and hosts the National Virtual Pointer System (NVPS) Message Hub to provide access to the NVPS participant agencies and to RISS member agencies who submit records to the RISSIntel databases via RISSNET.

RISS continues to work with organizations such as the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the National Gang Intelligence Center, the United States Secret Service, and the United States Attorneys’ Offices. RISS continues to connect fusion centers to RISSNET, integrate RISS services and tools into fusion center operations, and provide training opportunities.