Director, Law & Policy

SEARCH is currently recruiting for an experienced, knowledgeable leader to direct our national Law and Policy Program.

Information is often called the lifeblood of the criminal justice and public safety system.  But the laws and policies that govern how this critical data is collected, managed, disseminated, and secured are equally critical to the efficient and fair operation of the justice system.  Since the mid-1970s, SEARCH has been a key participant and leader in national initiatives to improve the quality, accuracy, timeliness, and availability criminal history record information—while protecting individual privacy. 

Through our Law and Policy Program, SEARCH helps criminal justice agencies develop and implement responsible laws, policies, and practices to govern the collection, maintenance, exchange, sharing, and dissemination of justice information.  We advise the Congress and state legislatures and work with national agencies like the FBI on critical issues, programs, and efforts—ranging from developing a standardized rap sheet, to helping states implement sex offender registries, to supporting means to share, search, link, and analyze data across jurisdictional boundaries.  We also support justice program and criminology research and evidence-based practices to inform effective policy for the justice system. 

These efforts have an immediate and significant impact on this nation’s citizens—for example, criminal history background checks are required for many civil purposes, such as to determine eligibility for firearms purchases, jobs, and even housing.  Advances in technology have added new challenges and raised the stakes—making careful consideration of the legal and policy issues more important than ever. 

SEARCH is currently recruiting for an experienced, knowledgeable leader to direct this national program. 

Job Overview

This position is responsible for directing the work of the Law and Policy Program, which helps agencies develop and implement responsible laws, policies, and practices, as well as technologies, to effectively manage criminal justice information.  The Director leads a team of experienced professionals in accomplishing the Program’s mission. 

The Director of Law and Policy oversees the Program’s activities, which include researching and writing about issues that impact justice information management and policy, organizing conferences and workshops, establishing and supporting national task forces, conducting surveys on issues pertinent to criminal record managers, providing assistance to client organizations, and working collaboratively with governmental entities and other organizations to improve the quality of justice and public safety. 

The Director supports the SEARCH Membership Group; represents SEARCH in various committees and forums of partner organizations; prepares and manages grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts; and advises the Executive Director on law and policy issues. 

This position reports to the Executive Director. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Manages day-to-day operation of Law and Policy Program, including education and training, technical and policy assistance, systems development, national conferences, workshops, task forces and seminars, and research projects.
  • Manages and supervises staff.
  • Criminal History Record Information (CHRI) Law and Policy—
    • Monitors the development of technologies, laws, policies, and practices of federal and state repositories of CHRI.
    • Contributes subject-matter expertise on CHRI subjects to national committees and working groups, and as part of consulting engagements with justice agencies at all levels of government.
    • Monitors emerging developments in criminal justice information and statistics.
  • Justice System Policy and Practice—
    • Maintains awareness of research in criminology, justice program evaluation and related areas, and the use of evidence to inform effective policy and practice for the justice system.
    • Monitors federal programs that impact the states’ management of criminal justice information.
  • Project Activities—
    • Develops and supervises preparation of reports, including policy assistance reports, research documents, and position papers.
    • Assists justice agencies and other entities on law and policy issues.
    • Conducts surveys in support of grant deliverable activities and at the request of federal policy makers, federal agencies, and SEARCH Members.
  • Support/Liaison to Groups/Agencies—
    • Makes presentations or reports on critical topics to meetings, conferences, and workshops, including the biannual meetings of the SEARCH Membership Group.
    • Provides support/expertise to external committees, including setting agendas, selecting speakers, creating meeting materials, and drafting reports.
    • Maintains liaison with federal, state and local agencies and relevant criminal justice associations, and coordinates joint activities.
    • Advises on issues relevant to law and policy of CHRI, and acts on directives of the committees.
  • Seeks, obtains, and manages grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts with federal, state and local agencies, and the private sector. Develops proposals and applications, schedules projects, and develops and administers budgets.
  • Advises the Executive Director on relevant criminal justice law and policy issues, and performs other duties as assigned by the Executive Director.

Work Environment and Travel

This is a full-time exempt position, which requires frequent national travel. The Director may work from any location in the United States, using remote communication/collaboration technologies to work with SEARCH team members and external stakeholders. 

Required Education

  • Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or related field.

Required and Preferred Experience

Key candidate capabilities and experience include:

  • Strong skills in research and writing. Public speaking experience is critical. Must be able to effectively communicate with groups of managers, SEARCH Members, governmental bodies/boards, and the general public.
  • Demonstrated strong leadership ability, and strong management skills.
  • Knowledge of criminal justice system operation and administration.
  • Knowledge and skill in state and federal legislative process.
  • Knowledge of laws and policies that affect how criminal justice information is created, maintained, and disseminated.
  • Knowledge of technologies and practices of criminal history record repositories.
  • Skill in providing assistance in criminal justice information law and policy issues.
  • Familiarity and experience with the National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP) and National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
  • Familiarity and experience in conducting, evaluating, and using research to guide policy decisions.

Required Certificates, Licenses, Registrations

A current driver’s license and proof of auto insurance are required. Successful completion of a background check is required. 


SEARCH offers a competitive salary for this position, depending on the experience and skills of the successful applicant. SEARCH also offers an excellent benefits package including retirement, health, dental, disability, vacation, and sick leave. 

Interested applicants should submit a resume and cover letter describing concisely how their experience and skills align with the identified job responsibilities. Submit to:

Application closing date: An initial screening of applications will take place on April 28, 2014, but the recruitment will remain open until filled. 

SEARCH is an Equal Opportunity Employer.