New Director to Lead SEARCH's Public Safety Program

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SEARCH is pleased to announce that Mr. Douglas Onhaizer has been hired as Director of the Public Safety Programs, effective February 23, 2009. He will direct technical assistance to public safety agencies nationwide in automated systems development, planning and integration of justice information systems, and communications interoperability.

Mr. Onhaizer has 25 years of experience in communications, information technology support and business management for private and public safety. His expertise includes the areas of communications, law enforcement applications, biometrics, emergency communications, management, computer, telephony and radio hardware.

"Doug brings substantive experience in the public safety arena, particularly in the work we are doing for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the COPS Office," said Kelly Peters Harbitter, SEARCH Deputy Executive Director. "He is a welcome addition to an already stellar program and team of professionals."

Mr. Onhaizer takes over as Director of SEARCH Public Safety Programs from Mr. Dan Hawkins, who has held the position since 2003. Upon his request, Mr. Hawkins will continue providing technical assistance in the field as a Public Safety Technology Specialist. Mr. Hawkins is an internationally recognized speaker on the topics of public safety technology management and communications interoperability. He is the author of the Law Enforcement Tech Guide for Communications Interoperability: A Guide for Interagency Communications Projects and a number of other publications vital to public safety.

Prior to joining SEARCH, Mr. Onhaizer was Communications Technology Administrator for the City of Virginia Beach, Virginia, for nine years, where he managed communication systems and information content for the city, with oversight of 150-plus employees. He oversaw all business, technical, financial management, and personnel management for four divisions: Emergency Communications (9-1-1), Telecommunications, Public Information Office (Internet/Intranet and 3-1-1), and Video Services, with an annual budget in excess of $15 million.

Mr. Onhaizer has also held a number of positions in the private sector, including Assistant Vice President in the Advanced Information Technology Division and Law Enforcement Software Products Division of Anadac, Inc., and Director of Business Development and Technical Support for Accurate Information Systems, Inc., where he gained valuable business and leadership experience in the areas of program development and operations.

Mr. Onhaizer has extensive knowledge in interoperable communications and public safety technologies. He was an active participant in many local, regional and national committees to include:

  • Member, Norfolk/Virginia Beach Urban Area Working Group in support of the Urban Area Security Initiatives,
  • Chair of the nationally recognized Hampton Roads Overlay Regional InterOperabiliy Network (ORION),
  • Co-Chair, Hampton Roads Interoperable Communications Advisory Committee,
  • Chair, Region 5 Regional Planning Advisory Committee - Interoperability,
  • Member, Region 5 Homeland Security Planning Advisory Committee,
  • Member, State Interoperability Advisory Committee (SIEC),
  • Member, DHS Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) Emergency Response Council (ERC), and
  • National Peer Reviewer for the Urban Area Security Initiatives grant review programs.

He is also an active participant as a member of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).

Mr. Onhaizer has a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership from Regent University, and majored in Computer Science at Radford University.