Adam D'Alessandro, a Leader in Project SEARCH, Dies

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Mr. Adam F. D'Alessandro, a nationally renowned pioneer in the innovative use of technology to combat crime and manage criminal justice information systems, died on March 6 at the age of 92 after a lengthy illness.

Mr. D'Alessandro, of Clifton Park, New York, was a leader in the earliest days of SEARCH, in his role as the State Project Coordinator for New York State.

In 1969, SEARCH began as a 12-month pilot project designed to test the feasibility of exchanging justice information between states electronically. A small group of technology leaders from six states took place in the pilot—including New York, whose participation in the project was coordinated by Mr. D'Alessandro in his leadership role at the New York State Identification and Intelligence System (NYSIIS).

Not long after, SEARCH published the first technical reports with guidance on using nascent information technology to manage justice data use and exchange. As a member of the Project's Security and Privacy Committee, Mr. D'Alessandro participated in developing Technical Report No. 2, Security and Privacy Considerations in Criminal History Information Systems, published in July 1970. The report documented a project undertaken to demonstrate the needs and desires for security and privacy of information contained in computerized criminal history files, including types of data in the files, data recipients, and purposes for which the data will be used.

Mr. D'Alessandro was born in 1918 in Brooklyn, New York. He majored in criminal justice at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where he graduated with a B.S. in police science while a father of four and a full-time police officer with the New York City Police Department (NYPD).

Mr. D'Alessandro attended the NYPD Police Academy class of 1940, a class which has since become famous for its large number of out-of-work professors, engineers, lawyers and other professionals due to the Great Depression, where he graduated in the top 10 percent of his class. During a 27-year NYPD law enforcement career ending in 1967, he pioneered the use of several emerging technologies including lasers, infrared, video, and the new to law enforcement computer.

He finished his career at NYPD as a deputy inspector, at which time he was selected for a leadership role with the fledgling NYSIIS, later the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) in Albany. During his 16-year tenure at DCJS, he attained the rank of deputy commissioner and became known nationally for his groundbreaking use of laserfax microwave and computers, as well as his progressive work as an advocate for the safeguarding of criminal justice data. He retired in 1983.

Mr. D'Alessandro was preceded in death by his wife, Lucy, and is survived by three sons, a daughter, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. The family planned a Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, March 12 at 10 a.m. in Clifton Park. Memorial contributions may be made to the Joan Nicole Prince Home (a non-profit hospice), 22 Glenview Dr., Scotia, N.Y. in lieu of flowers.