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SEARCH Board Selects Major Timothy McGrail, Justice Enterprise Advocate, to Receive 2015 Cooper Award

Major Timothy McGrail

Major Timothy McGrail

Major Timothy McGrail is this year’s recipient of the Gary R. Cooper Meritorious Service Award, SEARCH’s top Membership honor.  The SEARCH Board of Directors made the selection at a board meeting last month, held in conjunction with our 2015 Winter Meeting

Major McGrail is Commander of the Technical Services Bureau at the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP), and has served as Missouri’s governor-appointed representative to the SEARCH Membership since 2013. 

The Board recognized Major McGrail for his work in helping to build a national integrated justice enterprise that brings together criminal justice and non-criminal justice agencies to develop a solid foundation for information sharing at the State level — and to contribute accurate, timely, and complete information to the national systems maintained by the FBI.  

Major McGrail’s ability to listen, advise, and encourage healthy discussions at the table are some of the reasons he is able to keep all the parties involved, focused on the critical issues at hand, and achieve consensus at the end of the day.  What he is achieving in Missouri, he continues to do likewise at the national level as well.

— Dawn Peck (Idaho), SEARCH Board Member

Major McGrail is a 30-year veteran of the MSHP. As Commander of the Technical Services Bureau, he has oversight responsibility for the Criminal Justice information Services, Information and Communications Technology, and Research and Development, and Patrol Records divisions. The CJIS Division includes the state’s criminal history repository, Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), the Access Integrity Section, the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Section, and the Missouri Sex Offender Registry.

At the national level, Major McGrail participates in many justice information sharing efforts. In addition to his appointment to the SEARCH Membership, he is Missouri’s representative on the National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact Council, and has served as its vice chair since 2013. He has served as chairman of the MORPHO-TRAK Users Group for the last seven years. He has also been on the FBI Advisory Policy Board. Major McGrail is the designated CJIS System Officer (CSO) for the state of Missouri, and serves on the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board.

Creating Solutions for State/Local Justice

During the time that Major McGrail led Missouri’s CJIS Division, he created solutions for the many challenges facing the State’s criminal justice systems, including legislation, additional programs, equipment, technology, and increased services both at the State and national reporting levels:

  • He was the driving force behind developing MSHP’s UCR program, Access Integrity Unit, and its National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) certification by the FBI. 
  • He was instrumental in developing the State’s Sex Offender Registry and making it available through a public website. He oversaw critical enhancements, including adding photographs, alias information, vehicle identifiers, and work location. Each of these added elements significantly improved the effectiveness of this high-profile program. 
  • Major McGrail also oversaw a major project to develop a capability to electronically capture and submit applicant fingerprints for background checks. This provided the basis for MACHS, the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site, which allows applicants to submit requests for name and fingerprint checks over the Internet. He used this as a fundamental platform to improve the process even further. Missouri is targeted to implement the MACHS 2 program in 2015. The new program will provide electronic returns to the authorized recipient at a decidedly more rapid rate. 

Bringing Users Together

Major McGrail is a strong advocate for open communication and training within the criminal justice information sharing user community. 

He has helped build tools that keep users informed by establishing a MULES (Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System) Training unit and ultimately creating a mechanism to facilitate CJIS compliance, collaborative relationships, and better communication across all the State’s users of the criminal justice systems. 

He helped implement an Information Security Unit, initiated two-finger mobile identification, and saw Missouri become a fully accredited National Fingerprint File (NFF) state. 

SEARCH will present the Cooper Award to Major McGrail at its 2015 Annual Meeting next July in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Gary R. Cooper Meritorious Service Award 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.
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