O.J. Hawkins, First SEARCH Chair and Executive Director, Dies


O.J. "Bud" Hawkins
It is with sadness that SEARCH notes the death of O.J. "Bud" Hawkins on Friday, November 4, 2005, at the age of 90. He died in Sacramento, California, after a brief illness.

Bud was a true technological pioneer, having played a significant role in the creation and development of SEARCH. As Director of the California Department of Justice's Division of Law Enforcement and Chair of the California Crime Technological Research Foundation, he was chosen to chair the fledgling Project SEARCH when it was formed in 1969. He successfully guided this federally funded state project through its crucial early years.

After SEARCH was restructured as a national organization in 1974, he became our first Executive Director. He served in this capacity until 1978, but never truly left SEARCH in that he remained a valuable and trusted advisor, mentor and friend to SEARCH Chairmen, Executive Directors, Members and Staff in the years that followed.

In 1985, in recognition of Bud's contributions and achievements, SEARCH instituted a national award named in his honor. The O.J. Hawkins Award for Innovative Leadership and Outstanding Contributions in Criminal Justice Information Systems, Policy, and Statistics in the United States formally acknowledges an individual's service, dedication and contributions that have improved the justice community's ability to develop and use criminal justice information.

It is the only nationally recognized, competitive award for contributions in the field of criminal justice information management-and is a fitting tribute to Bud's lifelong legacy of excellence, dedication to the public good, and distinguished service.

"Bud's wit, wisdom and warmth were unmatched, and are the hallmarks of his personality that people are not likely to forget," noted SEARCH Executive Director Ronald P. Hawley. "Personally, I will always be thankful that I got to know Bud and for the time spent with him. He will always be a source of inspiration to me."

Bud's illustrious law enforcement career spanned nearly 70 years. Between 1936-46, he worked for the Los Angeles Department of Forestry, U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Coast Guard Intelligence Unit. In 1946, he began his nearly 60 years of service with the California Department of Justice (DOJ). He eventually worked for 10 California Attorneys General, and most recently served as Special Law Enforcement Liaison to Attorney General Bill Lockyer, personally representing him in meetings with police chiefs and county sheriffs to address issues of mutual concern to state and local law enforcement.

His other positions with the California DOJ include Assistant Chief, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement; Assistant Director and Director, Division of Law Enforcement; and Special Assistant for Governmental Affairs to the Sacramento County Sheriff.

Of special note is Bud's founding of the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS) Advisory Committee in 1963. According to Attorney General Lockyer, under Bud's leadership, "CLETS became a national model for the collection and instantaneous dissemination of vital law enforcement information that sworn peace officers rely on each and every day to do their jobs and protect public safety."

Bud continued to serve as Chair of the CLETS Advisory Committee up to the time of his death.

In recognition of Bud's contributions and years of service to California and the nation, the state's Law Enforcement Data Center within the DOJ's Division of Information Services in Sacramento was renamed the O.J. Hawkins Data Center in 1993.

Bud was preceded in death by his wife, Irene, and is survived by his son, Gary, and daughter-in-law, Mindy. A memorial service is scheduled for Friday, November 11 at noon, Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church, 1147 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Fair Oaks, California. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations may be sent to the Society for the Blind.

The thoughts and prayers of all SEARCH Members and Staff are extended to Bud's family at this time of loss.