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DOJ endorses tool for police hiring background checks

The National Decertification Index is a free tool for law enforcement

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By Suzie Ziegler

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A free and “powerful” background investigation tool is available to any law enforcement agency or officer involved in background checks, according to the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office).

The National Decertification Index (NDI) is described as a “pointer system” that shows if an officer may have been decertified for misconduct, officials said. It also identifies relevant agencies where more detailed information may be obtained. The database currently has over 29,000 decertification actions submitted by 45 state-level certifying agencies.

The NDI also will soon contain additional information for vetting applicants and lateral hires, according to the release. The database will potentially include a tracker for criminal convictions of officers for on-duty conduct and civil judgments against officers for improper use of force where the officer resigns or retires mid-investigation, officials said. The NDI will only contain entries in cases where the officer has been afforded due process per local laws.

“Every agency wants to hire the best of the best,” said the COPS Office in a statement. “The NDI will help ensure an agency does not hire a candidate who is a liability and who should not be in the police profession.”

Additional details regarding the NDI can be found here. To request access to the NDI, click on the “Request Access to the NDI” button.