Police Handling Codes

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mweber
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Police Handling Codes

Post by mweber » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:09 pm

When your pulled over and on a fake terrorist watch list, the police are instructed to handle you based on the Handling CODE number below:

Handling Code 1 applies to individuals with outstanding arrest warrants in the NCIC Wanted Persons File.103 As of 2009, Handling Code 1 read as follows:

***LAW ENFORCEMENT SENSITIVE INFORMATION*** WARNING – APPROACH WITH CAUTION. THIS INDIVIDUAL IS ASSOCIATED WITH TERRORISM AND IS THE SUBJECT OF AN ARREST WARRANT, ALTHOUGH THE WARRANT MAY NOT BE RETRIEVABLE VIA THE SEARCHED IDENTIFIERS. IF AN ARREST WARRANT FOR THE INDIVIDUAL IS RETURNED IN YOUR SEARCH OF NCIC, DETAIN THE INDIVIDUAL PURSUANT TO YOUR DEPARTMENT’S PROCEDURES FOR HANDLING AN OUTSTANDING WARRANT, AND IMMEDIATELY CONTACT THE TERRORIST SCREENING CENTER AT (866) XXX-XXXX FOR ADDITIONAL DIRECTION. IF AN ARREST WARRANT FOR THE INDIVIDUAL IS NOT RETURNED, USE CAUTION AND IMMEDIATELY CONTACT THE TSC AT (866) XXX-XXXX FOR ADDITIONAL DIRECTION WITHOUT OTHERWISE EXTENDING THE SCOPE OR DURATION OF THE ENCOUNTER. IF YOU ARE A BORDER PATROL OFFICER IMMEDIATELY CALL THE NTC. UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURE OF TERRORIST WATCHLIST INFORMATION IS PROHIBITED. DO NOT ADVISE THIS INDIVIDUAL THAT THEY MAY BE ON A TERRORIST WATCHLIST. INFORMATION THAT THIS INDIVIDUAL MAY BE ON A TERRORIST WATCHLIST IS PROPERTY OF THE TSC AND IS A FEDERAL RECORD PROVIDED TO YOUR AGENCY THAT MAY NOT BE DISSEMINATED OR USED IN ANY PROCEEDING WITHOUT THE ADVANCE AUTHORIZATION OF THE TSC. ***LAW ENFORCEMENT SENSITIVE INFORMATION***104

Handling Code 2 appears to pertain mainly to watchlisted individuals who are subject to current or future DHS detainers.

People with sealed federal indictments can also be subject to Handling Code 2.106 In addition, documents from 2008 indicate that Handling Code 2 could be used for entries made under “exigent circumstances which require immediate entry of the record.”107 The full text of Handling Code 2 is as follows: ***LAW ENFORCEMENT SENSITIVE INFORMATION*** WARNING – APPROACH WITH CAUTION. THIS INDIVIDUAL IS OF INVESTIGATIVE INTEREST TO LAW ENFORCEMENT REGARDING ASSOCIATION WITH TERRORISM AND THERE MAY BE A DETAINER AVAILABLE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY FOR THIS INDIVIDUAL. IMMEDIATELY CONTACT THE TERRORIST SCREENING CENTER (TSC) AT (866) XXX-XXXX OR, IF YOU ARE A BORDER PATROL OFFICER, IMMEDIATELY CALL THE NTC TO ASCERTAIN IF A DETAINER IS AVAILABLE FOR THE INDIVIDUAL AND TO OBTAIN ADDITIONAL DIRECTION. PLEASE QUESTION THIS INDIVIDUAL TO ASSIST THE TSC IN DETERMINING WHETHER THE INDIVIDUAL ENCOUNTERED IS THE SUBJECT OF A DETAINER WITHOUT OTHERWISE EXTENDING THE SCOPE OR DURATION OF THE ENCOUNTER. UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURE OF TERRORIST WATCHLIST INFORMATION IS PROHIBITED. DO NOT ADVISE THIS INDIVIDUAL THAT THEY MAY BE ON A TERRORIST WATCHLIST. INFORMATION THAT THIS INDIVIDUAL MAY BE ON A TERRORIST WATCHLIST IS PROPERTY OF THE TSC AND IS A FEDERAL RECORD PROVIDED TO YOUR AGENCY THAT MAY NOT BE DISSEMINATED OR USED IN ANY PROCEEDING WITHOUT THE ADVANCE AUTHORIZATION OF THE TSC. ***LAW ENFORCEMENT SENSITIVE INFORMATION***108As the above language indicates, the querying officer is instructed to “question this individual” in order to help the NTC to determine whether this person is subject to a detainer, but the message provides no guidance on the questioning or the kind of information that would assist in such a determination. It also appears doubtful that officers could question an individual “without otherwise extending the scope or duration of the encounter,” since presumably an encounter with an individual not listed in VGTOF/KST would not involve additional questioning or awaiting a reply from the TSC or the NTC. Thus, encounters with individuals subject to Handling Code 2 will likely be longer and more 105 Communications from Counterterrorism to All Field Offices and All Legats, Re: Counterterrorism Program Guidance/Watchlisting/Administrative and Operational Guidance (Dec. 7, 2009), http://epic.org/privacy/airtravel/EPIC_ ... dance2.pdf, ¶ 1.2.1.1. 106Id. ¶ 1.6. 107 STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES:NOMINATION PROCESS,TERRORIST SCREENING CENTER NOMINATIONS AND DATA INTEGRITY UNIT (Aug. 2, 2006), No. NCIC-VGTOF-8403. 108 2009 NCIC Operating Manual, supra note 49, No. NCIC-VGTOF-709.
26 intrusive than they otherwise would because of the ambiguity of the instructions and the directive to officers to question the individuals further.

Finally, Handling Code 3 applies to all entries that are not categorized as Handling Code 1, Handling Code 2, or silent hits.109 The text of the message for Handling Code 3 states: ***LAW ENFORCEMENT SENSITIVE INFORMATION*** DO NOT ADVISE THIS INDIVIDUAL THAT THEY MAY BE ON A TERRORIST WATCHLIST. CONTACT THE TERORRIST SCREENING CENTER (TSC) AT (866) XXX-XXXX DURING THIS ENCOUNTER. IF THIS WOULD EXTEND THE SCOPE OR DURATION OF THE ENCOUNTER CONTACT THE TSC IMMEDIATELY THEREAFTER. IF YOU ARE A BORDER PATROL OFFICER IMMEDIATELY CALL THE NTC. ATTEMPT TO OBTAIN SUFFICIENT IDENTIFYING INFORMATION DURING THE ENCOUNTER, WITHOUT OTHERWISE EXTENDING THE SCOPE OR DURATION OF THE ENCOUNTER, TO ASSIST THE TSC IN DETERMINING WHETHER OR NOT THE NAME OR IDENTIFIER(S) YOU QUERIED BELONGS TO AN INDIVIDUAL IDENTIFIED AS HAVING POSSIBLE TIES WITH TERRORISM. DO NOT DETAIN OR ARREST THIS INDIVIDUAL UNLESS THERE IS EVIDENCE OF A VIOLATION OF FEDERAL, STATE OR LOCAL STATUTES. UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURE IS PROHIBITED. INFORMATION THAT THIS INDIVIDUAL MAY BE ON A TERRORIST WATCHLIST IS PROPERTY OF THE TSC AND IS A FEDERAL RECORD PROVIDED TO YOUR AGENCY THAT MAY NOT BE DISSEMINATED OR USED IN ANY PROCEEDING WITHOUT THE ADVANCE AUTHORIZATION OF THE TSC. WARNING – APPROACH WITH CAUTION. ***LAW ENFORCEMENT SENSITIVE INFORMATION***110109 STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES:NOMINATION PROCESS,TERRORIST SCREENING CENTER NOMINATIONS AND DATA INTEGRITY UNIT (Aug. 2, 2006), No. NCIC-VGTOF-8374. In the past, there was an additional Handling Code 4 containing less biographical information than Handling Code 3, requiring only a name and an “incomplete” date of birth. Id.; see Communications from Counterterrorism to CJIS, Re: Terrorist Screening Database; Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File (VGTOF) – Handling Code 4 to 3 Conversion (June 14, 2004), No. NCIC-VGTOF-10908; FBI Email, Subject: HC 4 to 3 Conversion (June 16, 2005), No. NCIC-VGTOF-10912 to NCIC-VGTOF-10913. As of early 2004, Handling Code 3 was also the default code for the subjects of preliminary investigation. Communications from Counterterrorism to All Field Offices, Re: Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File (VGTOF), No. NCIC-VGTOF-10871. 110 2009 NCIC Operating Manual, supra note 49, No. NCIC-VGTOF-709.
27 This message makes clear that the querying officer should attempt to identify, but not to arrest or detain, the individual; it also states that the officer may contact the TSC after letting the individual go to avoid extending the length of the encounter. The three handling codes above were in operation as of 2009, but it is not clear if they continue to contain the language and format as listed above. In the past, some handling code messages contained a stronger warning against using the VGTOF hit as grounds for search and seizure: WARNING – STANDING ALONE, NCIC VIOLENT GANG AND TERRORIST ORGANIZATION FILE INFORMATION DOES NOT FURNISH GROUNDS FOR THE SEARCH AND SEIZURE OF ANY INDIVIDUAL, VEHICLE, OR DWELLING111This warning appears to have been omitted from the most recent handling codes; the 2009 handling codes lack such specific instructions for law enforcement to ensure that they do not use KST hits improperly to extend the scope of detentions. The documents related to encounters with watchlisted people underscore that KST functions primarily as a means of tracking and monitoring individuals about whom the FBI is suspicious. It is not aimed only at a legitimate and targeted need to apprehend actual, known terrorists, and it carries the significant risk that innocent people will be subjected to intense scrutiny or lengthy, intrusive stops by law enforcement officers. 111 NCIC 2000 Operating Manual: Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization (VGTOF) File (Dec. 1999) ¶ 13.1. In addition, for some time after September 11, 2001, another handling code that specifically identified individuals as a potential suspects in the September 11 attacks: WARNING - INDIVIDUAL MAY BE SOUGHT BY FBI FOR QUESTIONING RELATED TO ATTACKS AGAINST WORLD TRADE CENTER AND PENTAGON. APPROACH WITH CAUTION. HOWEVER, MAKE NO EFFORT TO ARREST INDIVIDUAL UNLESS THERE IS EVIDENCE OF A VIOLATION OF FEDERAL, STATE, OR LOCAL STATUTE(S). RATHER, LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS ARE REQUESTED TO STOP AND PROACTIVELY QUESTION THESE INDIVIDUALS AND TO CONTACT THE NEAREST FBI OFFICE IMMEDIATELY FOR FURTHER GUIDANCE. THESE INDIVIDUALS MAY BE HELPFUL IN PROVIDING INFORMATION AND POSSIBLY EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF AN ONGOING INVESTIGATION. SEE CURRENT FBI NLETS MESSAGE BOLO FOR MORE INFORMATION.

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