Awards

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 typically presented at the Annual Meeting in July.

The SEARCH Board selected this year’s honorees at its meeting held Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Columbia, South Carolina. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, presentation of the 2020 awards will be delayed until 2021.

Honorees for 2020 are:

  • O.J. Hawkins Award: Ms. Pamela Scanlon, Executive Director, Automated Regional Justice Information System (ARJIS). This is the first time SEARCH will bestow the Hawkins Award posthumously. Sadly, Ms. Scanlon died on Jan. 9, 2020.
  • Gary R. Cooper Meritorious Service Award: Mr. Wyatt Pettengill, Special Agent in Charge, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

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. 

Past recipients are Ms. Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General (former), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice (2012); U.S. Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA) (2011); and U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) (2018).

Practitioner

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.

Membership

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.

Past recipients of O.J. Hawkins Award

(titles listed were at the time of the award) 

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Past recipients of Gary R. Cooper Meritorious Service Award

(titles listed were at the time of the award)

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Karen Lissy

Ms. Karen Lissy is a Justice Information Services Specialist for the Law and Policy Program of SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics. In this position, she provides assistance to state and local justice and public safety agencies to collect, curate, and use National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data and computerized criminal history record (CCH/CHRI) information for policy analysis and development.

She also guides justice and related organizations in how to craft and implement laws, policies, practices, and technology applications to effectively collect and use CCH and related justice/public safety data; address legal, policy, and regulatory issues associated with CCH data; better manage and operate criminal justice information and identification systems; and develop security and privacy policies that protect justice information sharing systems.

Ms. Lissy has nearly two decades of research and data analysis experience, having led projects and tasks in support of two agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (the Bureau of Justice Statistics and National Institute of Justice), as well as the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, and multiple foundations, including Ford, Annie E. Casey, and Hewlett. Prior to joining SEARCH in October 2020, Ms. Lissy served as a Social Science Researcher at RTI International, as a regional Crime Analyst for the Redmond (WA) Police Department, and as Director of a research program with the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. Beginning in 2012, Ms. Lissy’s work has focused on improving data in law enforcement to answer policy questions and improve community/police relations.

Ms. Lissy earned a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University, and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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