A federal database meant to help catch criminals is being used by crooked police officers to commit crimes of their own.
Federal cases have revealed abuse around the country in states like Maryland, Tennessee, Georgia, and Connecticut in recent years, but two New York City trials reveal a lot of misuse in the New York Police Department.
Testimony against two accused NYPD policemen suggests officers can easily bypass safeguards by using another officer's login information.
The National Crime Information Center database is used nationwide by 90,000 agencies. They access it about 9 million times a day.
They use the NCIC to seek information on stolen guns and cars, fugitives, sex offenders, orders of protection, and other subjects.
How often the database is used for unauthorized purposes is unclear.
But the NYPD has seen a batch of corruption cases in recent years, with officers accused of abusing the FBI-operated database to cyber snoop on co-workers, tip off drug dealers, and stage robberies.
In the most notorious case, police officer Gilbert Valle was convicted in March of a scheme to abduct, kill, and eat women.