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NCIC Basic Operator Certification

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Law enforcement agencies nationwide share important data regarding criminal justice records through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database system. These records contain registries concerning sex offenders, wanted criminals, terrorist organizations and missing persons. Law enforcement age database system (LEADS) operators manage and handle the information by sharing records and updating systems. The level of certification required for basic database operators is dependent upon the level of access needed to use the NCIC system.

Certification Goal

The operator certification program allows the operator to give pertinent information to officers on duty concerning everything from license plate numbers to gun registrations. The certification shows that the operator can stay in compliance with NCIC regulations, can interpret the data and update records so every agency has the most current information.

Less Than Full Access Certification

Operators can obtain a Less Than Full Access certification. This certification is specifically designed for basic operators who do not need full access of NCIC records. The limited nature of a Less Than Full Access certification only permits operators to make inquires to the data system, interpret inquiry responses and evaluate criminal history records. Certification involves taking a management system course and participating in a video-based course.

Full Access Certification

Basic operators can also obtain Full Access certification. This certification is for operators who manage the computerized "hot file" records, which are files containing stolen vehicle, gang member and order of protection information. Operators with Full Access certification respond to requests for "hit" confirmation from law enforcement when matching possible suspect information. The operator also performs standard maintenance. Courses include learning the management system, the criminal justice data communications network and system security.


Operators for both types of certification have to pass the examination after learning the coursework. The basic operator receives certification for two years and must re-certify before the certification expiration date. Operators who do not re-certify have their access to the NCIC system revoked. Any law enforcement agency that violates federal regulations by allowing non-certified operators work the data system will have its NCIC access terminated.


Based in southwestern Pennsylvania, Michelle Hickman has written since 2006 on an array of topics including lifestyle, writing instruction and financial services. Her first articles appeared in "The Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Focus Magazine." She holds a certification in computer and information science from Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center.