awardsSEARCH Annual Awards Spotlight Leadership and Contributions to Justice and Public Safety

Each year, SEARCH bestows annual awards to honor a select group of justice professionals whose achievements and leadership exemplify SEARCH ideals of improving information use, management, and exchange among justice and public safety agencies.

The SEARCH Board of Directors selects the honorees, who are nominated by SEARCH Members and past award recipients. The select group is recognized in three broad categories of leadership: justice policy, practitioner, and SEARCH Membership.

Award recipients are selected at the Winter Meeting in January each year, and presented at the Annual Meeting in July. We are pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has selected our 2015 award honorees, who we will salute at SEARCH’s Annual Meeting next July in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  

Justice Policy Leadership

The Justice Policy Leadership Award formally recognizes the efforts and achievements of a member of Congress, or an elected or appointed leader in federal or state government, who has exercised exemplary and outstanding leadership in promoting the effective and appropriate development of public safety or justice information law and policy with national implications.

SEARCH began giving this award in 2011. Past recipients are Ms. Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General (former), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice (2012); and U.S. Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA) (2011).


The O.J. Hawkins Award for Innovative Leadership and Outstanding Contributions in Criminal Justice Information Systems, Policy and Statistics is SEARCH’s highest practitioner honor. It formally acknowledges an individual’s service, dedication, and contributions that have improved the justice community’s ability to develop and use criminal justice information. In particular, award recipients have made outstanding contributions that have a broad-ranging impact, often affecting multiple states, justice disciplines, or branches of government.

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 Chair and Executive Director.

SEARCH began presenting the Hawkins Award in 1985. Check out the list of all past recipients, who include former U.S. Senators and Representatives, an FBI Director, an Attorney General, private-sector experts, and justice agency and organization officials at the state, Federal, and national levels.


The Gary R. Cooper Award for Meritorious Service honors a SEARCH Member whose work in the field of criminal justice information systems, policy or statistics has been outstanding. The award, named after long-time SEARCH Executive Director Gary R. Cooper (retired), enables SEARCH Members to recognize one of their colleagues for contributions both to the field of criminal justice information and to the success of SEARCH.

SEARCH began presenting the Cooper Award in 1985. Check out a list of all past recipients, who have represented state-level justice and public safety agencies and programs in 22 States and the District of Columbia.

2015 Hawkins Award

harlin-mcewenCongratulations to Chief Harlin McEwen, Deputy Assistant Director (ret.), Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Chair, FirstNet Public Safety Advisory Committee. The SEARCH Board has selected him to receive the 2015 O.J. Hawkins Award for Innovative Leadership and Outstanding Contributions in Criminal Justice Information Systems, Policy and Statistics.

Read more about Chief McEwen’s five decades of national leadership to improve criminal justice and public safety information sharing, which has earned him SEARCH’s top practitioner honor.

2015 Cooper Award

tim-mcgrailCongratulations to Major. Timothy McGrail, Director of the Criminal Justice Information Services Division, Missouri Highway Patrol. The SEARCH Board selected to honor him with the 2015 Gary R. Cooper Meritorious Service Award. Chief McGrail has served as Missouri’s governor-appointed SEARCH representative since March 2013.

Read more about Major McGrail’s leadership and contributions to SEARCH and the justice community.