Myth vs Fact: Five Common Misconceptions About Nlets

September 30, 2021

There are many misconceptions about Nlets floating around the law enforcement community. Our Service Center gets phone calls every day from the criminal justice and public safety community who are not sure what Nlets is or does. Sometimes, they hear from others who believe that we store all data for every law enforcement agency. Actually, that is not accurate at all.


Misconception: Nlets is a governmental agency. 
Fact: While we work with the law enforcement community and a variety of governmental agencies, Nlets is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. We were formed in the mid 1960’s when representatives from across the country decided to develop a nationwide, interstate communications system. Since then, we have connected all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and Canada along with numerous federal agencies and various associate members for the secure exchange of criminal justice data necessary to complete our law enforcement, justice, and public safety mission.


Misconception: Nlets is a huge organization. 
Fact: While we do an enormous amount of work, Nlets is actually a small organization. Nlets has just 40 employees, ranging from administrative to technical staff. The technical staff is comprised of approximately 25 individuals that keep the Nlets system functioning 24/7/365. Despite having a small staff, over three billion transactions went through the Nlets secure network in 2020, and this number continues to climb every year!


Misconception: Nlets stores the data for every law enforcement agency.
Fact: Like previously mentioned, while we were founded by representatives from across the country, our primary purpose is to connect the states, commonwealths, and territories. It is important to note that we do not own data and we are not responsible for the accuracy of the data itself. Simply put, our work allows criminal justice information to be shared amongst relevant communities, but again, we do not own any of the data that is being used in the criminal justice or public safety realm. We exist solely for the purpose of securely accessing and sharing that information.


Misconception: Nlets exists only to run DMV-related transactions. 
Fact: While drivers and registration checks are consistently some of our most utilized queries, we provide access for our users to many other data sources as well. You can utilize Nlets run a Concealed Weapons Permit Query, Parole Probation and Corrections Information, Sex Offender Information, and much more. Check out our wiki to get an idea of the queries you can run or contact for additional information. 


Misconception: Any organization can host their servers at Nlets. 
Fact: Nlets provides two different types of hosting: Colocation and Virtual. Colocation is defined as having your physical servers run at Nlets’ secure facility, and Virtual hosting is through Nlets’ Nova cloud environment, where you can purchase public or private virtual machines to run your workloads. Due to the security policies that are in place at our facilities, we cannot offer hosting to just any organization that is interested. One of our most stringent requirements is that the organization must have a law enforcement focused mission. If they meet that criteria, they can request to meet with our Business Relationship Manager who will walk them through what the rest of the selection and onboarding process entails.