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Gary D. McAlvey, Former SEARCH Chairman and Organizational Pioneer, DiesBack See more recent articles
Gary D. McAlvey
Mr. McAlvey was a driving force behind the Illinois Bureau of Identification, where he was Bureau Chief within the Division of Forensic Services and Identification, Illinois State Police, and was instrumental in helping implement emerging technology in the field of forensics.
His involvement in SEARCH spanned the years between 1970 and 1994. In 1971, the State of Illinois formally joined Project SEARCH, which was created to develop a prototype computerized criminal history records system and to demonstrate the interstate exchange of this information.
Once SEARCH incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1974, Mr. McAlvey was elected the first Chairman of the SEARCH Membership Group and continued to serve as Illinois' governor-appointed representative to the group for another two decades. Of the 11 individuals who have served as Chairman of SEARCH in its 42-year history, he is the only one who served two sets of terms (1974-80 and 1984-88) and served the most number of nonconsecutive years.
At a SEARCH Symposium in the early 1970s, Gary D. McAlvey (left) is joined by then-Law Enforcement Assistance Administration Administrator Richard "Pete" Velde and SEARCH Executive Director O.J. Hawkins.
Mr. McAlvey was involved in some of SEARCH's earliest model standards work, including Technical Report No. 13, Standards for the Security and Privacy of Criminal Justice Information, in October 1975. The following year, the U.S. Department of Justice issued final regulations implementing the Crime Control Act of 1973--regulations that govern the security and privacy of local and state criminal history records and record systems. The regulations were based largely on SEARCH's comprehensive model standards set forth in Technical Report No. 13.
In a 1989 interview marking SEARCH's 20th year, Mr. McAlvey remembered the early 1970s as "a pretty exciting time to be Chairman," between the development of the federal regulations and the creation of computerized criminal history and other automated data systems nationwide.
In 1986, he was the second individual honored with the Board of Directors Award for Meritorious Service (now known as the Gary R. Cooper Meritorious Service Award). The award honors a SEARCH Member whose work in the field of criminal justice information systems, policy or statistics has been outstanding. With this award, the SEARCH Membership was able to recognize one of their colleagues for contributions both to the field of criminal justice information and to the success of SEARCH.
Mr. Owen Greenspan, Director of Law and Policy for SEARCH, is also a former SEARCH Member who represented New York State, and also served as Vice Chair of the Membership Group in the 1990s. He said, "To me, Gary McAlvey's past was SEARCH's future. I first met Gary as a newly appointed Member when he was nearing the end of his last term as Chair. SEARCH encourages participation and open discussion by its Members. These were hallmarks of his leadership whether as Chair or Member. He was a mentor to many of the Members. Most importantly, and characteristic of a tradition that continues today, he was always interested in what other states were doing and eagerly shared information about technology innovations and policy approaches in Illinois."
Mr. McAlvey graduated from Michigan State University and was an avid Spartan fan, holding season football tickets for many years. He was also a train enthusiast and in 2007, he fulfilled a quest to visit each of the 50 states.
Mr. McAlvey was born July 4, 1940, in Greenville, Michigan, and was married for 51 years to the former Anne Crase. In addition to his wife, Mr. McAlvey is survived by two daughters, two sons-in-law, four grandchildren, three brothers and a sister.
A memorial service will be held this summer (email firstname.lastname@example.org for details). Donations to honor Gary's memory may be made to the following:
Gary R. Cooper,
SEARCH Executive Director (ret.), shares his memories of Mr. McAlvey:Gary McAlvey was a rock. He was strong, sound, unambiguous, brave, smart, and savvy. He was just what SEARCH needed in its infancy. From 1969 to 1974, Project SEARCH was a multistate program funded by the Federal government. In 1974, the Members of this program incorporated and formed SEARCH Group. Gary was SEARCH Group's first Chairman. He went on to serve more terms as Chairman than any Member has since.
I met Gary in 1972 and know how important he was, not only to the creation of SEARCH Group, but also to its establishment as a powerhouse in developing a national criminal justice information agenda and system. He was a fierce and fearless advocate for the state and local justice community's point of view when dealing with the Federal government. I know he took heat at home when SEARCH's positions didn't always jibe with those in Illinois. But at the same time, when he came to a SEARCH meeting he strongly represented the Illinois perspective on national issues to other SEARCH Members. Once a vote was taken and a Membership Group position taken, Gary, on the national stage, represented SEARCH and SEARCH alone.
Gary was a leader on many national issues important to SEARCH. He also was always concerned about SEARCH's place in the world. He was a strong supporter of the notion to form a SEARCH state dues program. He asked, "How can we speak as a consortium of the states with credibility if we are financially supported by the Federal government?"
By any description, Gary McAlvey was the consummate leader. I worked with him for very many years and admired him greatly. In addition to having a trusting professional relationship, we considered ourselves good friends. However, friendship didn't get in the way of SEARCH's agenda. When he was Chair and I was Executive Director, I remember with clarity the words "sure" and "go ahead" as well as, at times, "no" and "don't." Gary's perspective always was that SEARCH was a Member-driven organization. Truer words were never spoken. I was fortunate to know him and will miss him. SEARCH has lost an icon but was extremely fortunate to have had him at the right time.