Longtime SEARCH Staff Eric Johnson Dies

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Eric C. Johnson
The SEARCH family is saddened to report the death of longtime SEARCH Staff Eric C. Johnson, a Justice Information Services Specialist for the Law and Policy Program.

Eric, 55, died April 22, 2010, in Sacramento, California.

"We have lost a cherished family member and it's a sad day for SEARCH," said Executive Director Ronald P. Hawley. "Eric had worked for us nearly 13 years, had authored thought-provoking and widely read reports throughout his career, and contributed to significant national task force efforts that examined critical issues emanating from the demand on justice agencies to support background checks for a variety of purposes."

In his career with SEARCH, Eric:
  • Authored nationally published works that examined issues impacting criminal justice information management and policy, including the use of criminal history record information (CHRI) beyond its traditional uses in law enforcement, such as for background checks to determine suitability for positions of trust and for other purposes.
  • Wrote technical bulletins that examined technological innovations associated with the management and use of CHRI.
  • Conducted surveys on pertinent criminal history law and policy issues.
  • Established and participated in national task forces and focus groups that examined demand for criminal history background checks for homeland security initiatives, responses to natural catastrophes, suitability determinations for employment, licensing and other needs and services, and for other purposes.
  • Was a principal organizer of national workshops and conferences providing justice information managers with educational and networking opportunities to support and improve the operation of criminal record repositories.
  • Provided technical assistance to justice agencies nationwide.

"I don't think there's anyone more supportive and dedicated to what Law and Policy does and what SEARCH does," said Law and Policy Director Owen M. Greenspan. "Eric truly believed in SEARCH's mission and work. And his work for us provided him with an outlet for both his talent and his philosophies."

Speaking on behalf of the SEARCH Board of Directors and SEARCH Membership Group, Chair Francis (Paco) X. Aumand III echoed the comments of Mr. Hawley and Mr. Greenspan, saying "Eric's professional expertise and presence will be greatly missed by all, and everyone is truly saddened by this tragic loss."

Eric joined SEARCH in 1997 as a Writer/Researcher in Corporate Communications, where he provided writing, editing and research support for corporate and program publications, products and resources, and assisted in Web site content development. He joined SEARCH's Law and Policy Program in 1999.

Before joining SEARCH, Eric worked in the news media and trade press, public relations and government. He holds a bachelor of arts in Journalism from San Francisco State University.

"Eric was a gifted writer and, more importantly, a thoughtful and decent individual who gave 100 percent to his work and to his family. He had a great sense of humor, an abiding love for the San Francisco Giants, and a keen interest in issues of the day," said Twyla Putt, Manager of Corporate Communications for SEARCH. "He will be greatly missed by all of us who were privileged to know him."

Eric is survived by his wife, Susan, and sons Ryan, Taylor, and Pierce.


Eric Johnson (center) is a gold medal winner at the 2008 SEARCH Summer Olympics along with fellow staff Shawna Warneke and Jon Johnson.


For years, a standing joke at SEARCH Christmas potlucks was a "legacy" can of peaches that one lucky recipient would get. Here, Eric Johnson shows off his holiday gift, joined by fellow staff Amir Holmes and Julie Gutierrez.