For nearly 45 years, SEARCH has prepared and published a wide range of national research, analytical, technical and survey reports, guides and bulletins on a range of timely issues in criminal justice information management, technology, information sharing, communications interoperability, and law and policy, as well as high-tech crime investigations. The U.S. Department of Justice has published many of our reports, as have national justice task forces and groups. Most of our recent reports are available online for download, and we offer a variety of search methods to find the report you want. We also offer easy links to document series we’ve produced, as well as templates.
White Paper – Reporting Mental Health Records to the NICS Index
This white paper by SEARCH’s Mental Health Records in NICS Focus Group provides information on how mental health records become a part of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Index—one of the databases accessed during firearms background checks. It also describes which records are eligible for inclusion, examines common misconceptions about these records, and highlights the collective success that states have had in making these records available to the NICS.
White Paper – The Importance of Information Sharing for Justice Reform
This SEARCH paper shows how information sharing supports justice reform in making better decisions; ensuring accountability; providing efficient services; understanding and investing in what works; and building on what exists. The paper highlights specific examples of successful justice reform through better decision-making.
Technical Brief-Enterprise Strategic Planning for Justice Information Sharing: Why It’s Important
This brief explores the benefits of following an Enterprise Strategic Planning (ESP) methodology when initiating an information sharing program with local, regional, state, and/or federal partners. SEARCH developed this ESP methodology based on the principles of Enterprise Architecture (EA). This is a companion document to another Technical Brief, Enterprise Strategic Planning: A Methodology to Build a Shared Vision for Justice Information Sharing. Use these, along with a modifiable Enterprise Strategic Plan template.
SEARCH Policy Statements
Approved by the SEARCH Membership Group on July 29, 2014, these eight policy statements articulate the core principles of SEARCH.
Law Enforcement Tech Guide for Communications Interoperability: A Guide for Interagency Communications Projects, 2nd edition
Revised and updated in 2013, this comprehensive, user-friendly guide provides strategies, best practices, and recommendations for public safety agencies seeking to develop or expand interagency communications projects.
SEARCH Recommendations: Improving the National Instant Background Screening System for Firearms Purchases
This SEARCH document responds to NICS questions from Congress and the Administration. It contains important facts and background about NICS and the States’ role in the system, and SEARCH Member recommendations regarding funding and support for this critical system.
Issue Brief #13-Prepping for the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network
An overview for public safety decision-makers of the current status of a nationwide public safety broadband network, and steps to take to prepare for its eventual implementation.
Incident Command System (ICS) Communications Unit Implementation and Best Practices: A Guide for Program Development
Use this guide to learn how to set up and sustain ICS COMU Programs at the local, regional, and state levels. It focuses on key elements, performance measures, and assessment from the perspective of enhancing existing COMU practices, policies, and procedures through to an advanced level of program implementation. Use this guide with four companion tools and templates, provided in the Templates section of this page.
Survey of State Criminal History Information Systems, 2012
This report is based upon the results from a survey conducted of the administrators of the State criminal history record repositories by SEARCH. It presents a snapshot as of December 31, 2012, of 55 jurisdictions: The 50 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Since 2002, SEARCH produced six Tech Guides that serve as helpful and informative resources to law enforcement and public safety practitioners. This series was prepared under funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). Learn More
The Issue Briefs series addresses best practices and key topical issues related to public safety communications interoperability. They are designed for practitioners with limited time and a need to know about the latest industry-based knowledge. The series is prepared by SEARCH under funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). Learn More
SEARCH’s Technical Brief series continues our practice of developing and providing information sharing resources and models to the justice community. They address common, practical and timely technology and process issues—particularly those SEARCH is frequently asked about by justice and public safety organizations that face information technology challenges. Learn More
Why reinvent the wheel? Download and use SEARCH-developed templates in MS Word or Excel.
The following templates are companion resources to Incident Command System (ICS) Communications Unit Implementation and Best Practices: A Guide for Program Development.
- ICS Communications Unit Program Plan Outline
- ICS Communications Unit Response Kit
- ICS Communications Unit Sustainable Funding Strategy Tool
- ICS Communications Unit Program Assessment and Development Matrix
The following are modifiable service catalog templates that your agency can use to start developing a Configuration Management Database (CMDB), a tool that IT managers and staff use to define and track changes to the services they manage. These templates are companion resources to Technical Brief-Using Principles of Service Management to Manage Justice Information Technology Services, which describes how principles of IT Service Management (ITSM) can benefit IT operations in the justice environment. IT services are the delivery of expertise and products by an IT provider that support the customer’s business processes—often including a combination of resources, people, processes, and technology to maintain an adequate level of service.
- Service Description-Email
- Service Description-File, Print, and Document Management
- Service Description-Local Area Network
- Service Description-Database Hosting
- Service Description-Internet
- Service Description-Criminal Justice Information System Interface
- Service Description-Telephony
- Service Description-Web Hosting
- Service Description-Help Desk
- Service Description-Application Development
SEARCH offers an MS Excel 2003 spreadsheet containing worksheets that guides you through a detailed assessment of your agency’s IT system in three categories: Management, Organizational, and Technical — and a fourth category, State and Local Law Enforcement-Specific IT Security Controls, which assists with recording information on additional state and local government issues. This tool provides your team with a simple and concise methodology by which to assess your systems and their potential risk.
SEARCH’s Guide to Conducting Privacy Impact Assessments for State, Local, and Tribal Information Sharing Initiatives helps you examine the privacy implications of your information systems and information-sharing collaborations so you can design and implement policies to address vulnerabilities identified through the assessment process. It includes a template that your jurisdiction can use to conduct your privacy impact assessments.
State repository staff can use the Quality Assurance Checklist to:
- Establish a baseline of repository operations, including alignment with nationally accepted requirements and best practices;
- Identify gaps in repository operations; and
- Train and educate existing and future staff on repository operations.
State repository staff can use the Civil Fingerprint Handling Cost Analysis Tool to determine the costs for noncriminal justice purpose background checks.
The QA and Cost Analysis Tools are bundled together in one Microsoft Word document that can be filled out electronically:
The Project Planning Resource Toolkit offers easy-to-use templates for developing the following:
- A public safety project decision-making structure
- A public safety project charter
- A public safety project communications plan
- A public safety project risk management plan
- A public safety project assessment and analysis checklist
Justice and public safety organizations that initiate an information sharing program with local, regional, state, and/or federal partners should develop an Enterprise Strategic Plan. SEARCH has prepared Technical Briefs that outline the importance of enterprise strategic planning, and offer a methodology for preparing enterprise strategic plans. Organizations can use this modifiable Word template to prepare such a plan.