Law enforcement officers are charged with keeping the public safe and apprehending people who are dangerous or who have broken the laws. In order to do that, law enforcement officers often need information. This might be background information on someone detained for a crime or information on a stolen car.
In order to streamline information between various agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) maintains the National Crime Information Center, or NCIC. States also maintain databases, like the Florida Crime Information Center (FCIC).
The information in these databases is important and sensitive, so people must have permission to access it. In Florida, this means that people interested in working in law enforcement need to obtain a FCIC/NCIC certification.
What Is a FCIC/NCIC Certification?
In Florida, people who want to access criminal databases and need to do so for their jobs are required to obtain a FCIC/NCIC certification. In order to obtain the certification, people need to learn about the databases, their proper uses and privacy protections.
Florida allows users to obtain a FCIC/NCIC certification online by taking a FCIC/NCIC certification test for limited access users. This includes law enforcement officers like police officers and correctional officers who need to obtain information from the system.
After completing an online FCIC/NCIC certification course, a law enforcement officer needs to pass the FCIC/NCIC certification test within 30 days. Once they complete the FCIC/NCIC certification test, they are able to obtain their certification and access the system.
How to Study for the FCIC/NCIC Certification Test
In order to become certified to access these crime databases, a person must learn about protecting the sensitive information within them, proper usage, etc. All of this information is presented by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in the online class.
The state provides a PDF that contains the FCIC/NCIC test answers. People who are preparing for the exam should study this booklet before proceeding to take the exam.
What Are the Requirements for FCIC/NCIC Certification?
The crime databases maintained by the federal government and by the state of Florida are not open to the public. Because of that, people must meet certain requirements before they are allowed to take the exam to become FCIC/NCIC certified. Specifically, test-takers must be at least 18 and be a member of “an agency with statutory access to criminal justice information.”
Many departments will help new officers obtain FCIC/NCIC certification. If you have questions about obtaining the information and are employed by a law enforcement agency in Florida, speak to a supervisor who can help you navigate obtaining the certification.
If You Fail the FCIC/NCIC Certification Exam
A score of 72 percent is needed to pass the FCIC/NCIC certification exam. The exam is administered online, unless a law enforcement employee needs a paper test to accommodate a disability. If a person taking the test online fails, they are able to immediately retake the test in order to try to obtain the required score of 72 percent.
However, if a person fails a second time, they will be locked out of the test. In this case, they should review the study information provided by the the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and contact their test administrator to unlock the account.
FCIC/NCIC certification is good for two years, so officers need to renew their certification regularly. If people allow their certification to lapse, they will not be able to access the state or federal crime databases. This would hinder on-the-job performance and safety, so it is important that people working in law enforcement make keeping their certification a priority.
Kelly Burch is a freelance journalist living in New Hampshire. Her educational work has appeared in The Washington Post, Parents magazine and more.