David Gavin Selected for 2011 O.J. Hawkins Award

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David Gavin
SEARCH extends its congratulations to Mr. David Gavin, a 33-year veteran of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), and a national leader in supporting critical national information sharing initiatives of the FBI, who will receive our 2011 O.J. Hawkins Award for Innovative Leadership and Outstanding Contributions in Criminal Justice Information Systems, Policy and Statistics.

The SEARCH Board of Directors selected Mr. Gavin for this annual honor, which 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 named for Orville J. (Bud) Hawkins, who was SEARCH's first Chairman and Executive Director.

Mr. Gavin retired in 2010 from DPS, after nearly 20 years of service as Assistant Chief of its Administrative Division and another 13 years in other positions. Prior to his retirement, he had served in a variety of leadership capacities during his 18-year association with the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS) advisory process. Since then, he continues his involvement in FBI initiatives as an outreach consultant for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, focused on supporting the FBI's Law Enforcement National Data Exchange (N-DEx) program.

In selecting Mr. Gavin for this honor, the SEARCH Board is recognizing his —
  • pivotal role in implementing critical national information sharing systems of the FBI, including the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), and NCIC 2000.
  • participation in the FBI CJIS Advisory Policy Board (APB), where he provided critical oversight and input to national data exchange initiatives.
  • role as a driving force behind the adoption of national standards for information sharing.
  • exceptional leadership that helped form effective communication partnerships and was a catalyst for securing support of law enforcement agencies and organizations for national information sharing efforts, such as N-DEx.

SEARCH plans to present the award to Mr. Gavin at its Membership Group Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 19, 2011.

Mr. Gavin was nominated for the award by previous Hawkins Award recipients Mr. Thomas E. Bush III (2010) and Mr. David R. Loesch (2002), both of whom are former Assistant Directors of the FBI CJIS Division.

In his nomination letter, Mr. Bush wrote that Mr. Gavin also served as the first Chairman of the Information Sharing Subcommittee of the APB, where he gave critical oversight and input regarding the creation and deployment of N-DEx.

"Mr. Gavin is recognized by law enforcement nationwide as an effective and intellectual leader, and he has demonstrated a remarkable record of forward-thinking with regard to... national criminal justice systems... . His exceptional liaison skills have allowed him to effectively cultivate relationships throughout the law enforcement community to form creative and effective communication partnerships," Mr. Bush wrote.

APB Service

Mr. Gavin's involvement with the APB process began with his service as Texas' CJIS Systems Officer (CSO) and Western Working Group (WWG) representative. Respect for his insightful opinions earned him election by his peers as Chair of the WWG.

A valued member of the FBI's Brady Act Task Force, Mr. Gavin provided significant guidance that facilitated the successful creation of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is used by Federal firearms licensees to determine a prospective buyer's eligibility to purchase firearms or explosives.

In recognition of Mr. Gavin's depth and breadth of knowledge of criminal justice information systems and the services they represent, he eventually served on every APB subcommittee and was elected to chair many of these.

Mr. Gavin was elected Vice-Chair of the APB in December 1996, and served in that capacity until he was elected Chair in December 1998. During his two-year tenure as Chair, "he devoted hours of personal time to liaise with numerous representatives of the state, federal, and local law enforcement community in an effort to ensure the creation and deployment of IAFIS and NCIC 2000," noted Mr. Bush.

To ensure the successful deployment of these critical systems, Mr. Gavin attended countless meetings and created several task forces to address pertinent and often difficult issues. Added Mr. Bush: "(Mr. Gavin) was the voice of the APB in dealing with the various professional law enforcement associations and organizations and regularly presented the opinions of the Advisory Policy Board to the Director of the FBI. His substantial and insightful input into the development of these critical criminal justice information systems cannot be overstated."

Local Support for Federal Initiatives

Mr. Gavin performed his APB duties while continuing to maintain his significant management responsibilities at the Texas DPS.

Mr. Mike Lesko, SEARCH's governor-appointed Member from Texas, and Deputy Assistant Director of the Texas DPS Crime Records Service, remarked on Mr. Gavin's state-level leadership, saying, "At the state level, David was always a leader and a consensus builder. He was a visionary with the unique ability to explain what needed to be accomplished in a manner that was respectful and accommodating to opposing views. David was always selfless and would defer any credit for accomplishments to 'the process,' even when it was clear that he was the driving force behind the success of a particular project."

Although Mr. Gavin was an employee of state government and worked extensively with the Federal sector, he would make the point that in order to be successful, national systems must be useful for local law enforcement. To this point, Mr. Loesch noted that, "Under (Mr. Gavin's) leadership, Texas was always one of the first states to volunteer for pilot projects."

"David was always someone I and my staff at (the CJIS Division) could always trust and turn to for guidance and support on the most difficult issues," Mr. Loesch wrote.

During Mr. Gavin's tenure as Assistant Chief of the Texas DPS Administrative Division, he was in charge of the Texas Crime Information Center, criminal history repository, AFIS, sex offender registry, and other related programs. Currently, he continues to work with state and local law enforcement as a representative of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to assist in developing effective interfaces with N-DEx.

Mr. Gavin will be the 28th recipient of this award. Past recipients of the O.J. Hawkins Award — who include former U.S. Senator (now Vice President) Joe Biden, former Attorney General Janet Reno, members of Congress, FBI officials, and state agency leaders — have made outstanding contributions that have a broad-ranging impact, often affecting multiple states, justice disciplines or branches of government.