By Martin Renkiewicz, Supervisory Special Agent, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Director, U.S. National Central Bureau of INTERPOL
I was very pleased to read the “President’s Message: Leading the Way to International Collaboration” in the June Police Chief magazine. I could not agree more with President Laine on the importance of international law enforcement collaboration; as we all know, criminals recognize no boundaries. With the increased cooperation between IACP and INTERPOL, criminals are facing a concerted effort to bring them to justice regardless of where they may have fled. There are no more safe havens for criminals.
The INTERPOL-U.S. National Central Bureau (USNCB) is designated by the Attorney General as the United States’ official representative to INTERPOL, the International Criminal Police Organization headquartered in Lyon, France. The USNCB is a component of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and is comanaged by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pursuant to an agreement between DHS and DOJ. The USNCB is the point of contact for all INTERPOL matters involving the United States and its state, local, tribal, and federal law enforcement officials.
The USNCB is an integral part of the fight against all crimes with an international nexus, including terrorism, organized crime, narcotics trafficking, gang warfare, child exploitation, and fraud. The USNCB provides criminal investigative assistance, access to international criminal information and databases, analysis, and the secure communication of law enforcement information to the more than 18,000 federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in the United States, as well as to police officials in the 186 other INTERPOL member countries.
Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year, the USNCB receives and replies to criminal investigative requests; transmits national requests for international cooperation; facilitates requested police action or operations; and collects and shares relevant criminal and investigative information.
The USNCB has six operational divisions:
INTERPOL Operations and Command Center (IOCC) provides mission-critical functions including communications/dispatch, translation, and criminal record searches. IOCC also manages the USNCB Notice Program, processing INTERPOL “lookout” diffusions and foreign-issued notices. These core services initiate and support the casework performed by USNCB’s investigative divisions.
Alien/Fugitive Division (FUG) handles cases involving fugitives, immigration violations, passport fraud, missing persons, human trafficking, unidentified bodies, deportations, and prisoner transfers.
Terrorism/Violent Crimes Division (TVC) handles cases involving terrorism, firearms and explosives, organized crime, kidnapping, child abductions, sexual offenses against children, hijacking, crimes on the high seas, hostage taking, bank robbery, cybercrime, Internet sex crime, food or drug hazards, suicides, threats against high officials, war crimes, crimes against humanity, threats against transportation, and violent crimes such as homicide and rape. It also oversees a number of innovative programs targeting terrorism through sharing information and criminal investigative leads.
Economic Crimes Division (ECD) handles financial fraud, identity theft, money laundering, tax violations, counterfeiting of U.S. obligations and documents, customs and smuggling violations, embezzlement, environmental crime, postal crimes, stolen vehicles and traffic violations, all types of computer crimes, violations of endangered species legislation, and stolen cultural property.
Drug Division (DRUG) handles the full-spectrum of drug-related investigative requests.
State & Local Liaison Division (SLLD) facilitates information exchange between foreign and domestic law enforcement. It has established and maintains liaisons with 66 USNCB-INTERPOL liaison offices in each U.S. state, in U.S. territories, and in major metropolitan police departments. The SLLD is critical to the USNCB’s effort to extend access to INTERPOL services to U.S. law enforcement agencies not represented at the USNCB.
The USNCB recognizes the need for increased interaction with our state, local, and tribal partners, and we have increased our outreach efforts in that area. In 2008, Frank Straub, Commissioner of the White Plains, New York, Department of Public Safety signed an agreement for a senior White Plains police officer to be housed at the USNCB on a temporary assignment. In July 2009, a similar agreement was signed with New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Soon a New York City Police Department police officer will be assigned to the USNCB’s Terrorism and Violent Crime Division. These officers will have direct access to all of INTERPOL’s databases and direct communication with police in INTERPOL’s 186 other member countries.
Like President Laine, Commissioner Straub and Commissioner Kelly are leaders among U.S. police officials in recognizing the importance of international police cooperation and information sharing. The USNCB will be reaching out through the IACP to other state, local, and tribal departments to pursue similar agreements to strengthen both the respective departments and USNCB’s efforts to fight global crime.
If your department would like to explore a partnership with the USNCB, please contact Dennis P. Sullivan, Senior Liaison Officer, State and Local Liaison Division, INTERPOL-USNCB, at 202-307-1753 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on INTERPOL, the USNCB, and the unique tools they offer to U.S. law enforcement, please visit our Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/usncb/.
Martin Renkiewicz is a supervisory special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) serving a three-year term as the director of the USNCB. Supervisory Special Agent Renkiewicz is also a board member of the IACP’s International Policing Division’s Steering Committee.■