New Nlets FS ORI for Fire

December 5, 2021

If you are a part of the criminal justice and public safety community, you have likely heard the words ‘ORI’ and ‘ORION’ used regularly. However, we know that not everyone fully understands what exactly those words mean (or why they should matter to you). Today, thanks to the experts at the Nlets Service Center, we will walk you through what an ORI is, how they are used, and point you to a few important resources that may be helpful to you.
 

What is an ORI?

An Originating Agency Identifier, or ORI, is a nine-character code that identifies a particular agency or terminal. At Nlets, we primarily use ORIs to determine if a particular agency’s request for information is valid. The sender and destination ORIs are checked on every transmission sent through the network. If the ORI has the appropriate permissions to run a transaction, our network will permit the transaction to go through, if not, it will be rejected.
 

The Format of ORIs

All ORIs follow a set format that determines which characters will be contained in their code. For example, the first two characters are the two-character state code (or, for a federal agency, the state where the ORI is located). So, an ORI for the Arizona DPS would have AZ as the first two characters. And for a DOJ terminal located in Virginia, it would have VA. To learn more about the format of the ORIs, visit the Nlets Wiki.
 

Permissions

While all ORIs follow similar formats, they do not all have the same level of permissions. There are four types of permissions that correspond with four different categories of transactions:

  • A – Administrative

  • C – Criminal History

  • D – Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV)

  • Z – Other

So, for example, an ORI with D access can only run DMV checks, but an ORI with A,C,D, and Z access can run all Nlets transactions.
 

Categories

ORIs are split into two primary categories: criminal justice ORIs and non-criminal justice ORIs.

The non-criminal justice ORIs are further divided by whether their ORI was assigned by the FBI or by Nlets.

The criminal justice ORIs are broken into two groups of either law enforcement or criminal justice according to the type of agency that the ORI belongs to.
 

What is ORION?

Nlets keeps an up-to-date database of ORIs called our ORION database. It supports users by helping them find the ORI of an Nlets user agency when only the location or Federal Agency (name of agency) is known, and/or provides information about an agency if only the ORI is known.

To keep our records up to date, each Nlets Representative must ensure that all ORION entries have been certified as up to date and accurate at least every two years.
 

S ORIs

One type of non-criminal justice ORI is the ‘S ORI’, which Nlets can assign to agencies whose application to NCIC for an ORI has been rejected. This type of ORI is identifiable by the ‘S’ in the 9th character. Some common uses of S ORIs include traffic enforcement agencies, child support enforcement agencies, and more.  Even the Army Corps of Engineers uses an S ORI!
 

Applying for an S ORI

When an agency’s application for an ORI from NCIC is rejected, they become eligible to request one from Nlets. To do so, they will need to submit their rejection letter from NCIC along with a request for an ORI from Nlets that is signed by their Nlets Representative. Many applicants also choose to include supporting documentation with their application (often their bylaws) to demonstrate a significant need. Once the application is complete, it is sent to the Nlets Service Center. The final decision is made by Nlets’ Executive Director.

If approved, the agency will then be assigned an S ORI that they can use to run their approved type of transaction.
 

Limited Use of S ORIs

It is important to note that because Nlets assigns S ORIs under our own authority and the agency’s original request was rejected by NCIC, there are some states who will not accept them.

You can use the NLORIHELP HELP File to view the [KS1] ORI participation list of states who accept S ORIs with an ‘S’ in 9th position.
 

FS ORIs

Nlets has now created an FS ORI, which can be used by Fire-Only Public Service Answering Points (PSAPS). FS ORIs are a type of S ORI. These ORIs will have an ‘F’ in the 8th position to distinguish them from S ORIs issued to Fire PSAPs. Part of the Nlets Corporate Strategic Plan includes a mission to expand our services to Fire and EMS and this is the first step toward accomplishing that goal.

Suffolk County NY Fire & Rescue Emergency Services was the first fire PSAP to go live with alarm notifications using Nlets. It is our hope that we will be able to quickly bring additional fire PSAPS on board. The initial use case will be for alarm notifications only but may eventually extend beyond that.

If you know of a Fire PSAP that would like to connect for alarm notifications via the newly created FS ORI, please have them reach out to Bonnie Locke at blocke@nlets.org.
 


We hope that this article helped clarify why you should care about what an ORI is. If you have additional questions about ORIs, please contact the Service Center at servicecenter@nlets.org.

Additional resources you may find helpful: