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SEARCH Announces Hybrid In-Person/Virtual 2021 Symposium


2021 SEARCH Symposium on Justice Information Technology, Policy and Research


Tuesday, July 13–Wednesday, July 14


St. Louis Union Station Hotel
St. Louis, MO
and on a digital platform


Explore the role and impact of new and emerging technologies, evolving legal doctrine and policy initiatives, and research findings and opportunities in justice operations.

Symposium flyer

SEARCH is excited to announce that the 2021 SEARCH Symposium on Justice Information Technology, Policy and Research is being hosted as a hybrid event with both in-person and virtual venues. The Symposium is scheduled for July 13–14, 2021, at St. Louis, MO. The event will feature keynote presentations and two dozen workshops organized in four complementary tracks: Technology, Policy, Research, and Case Study.

Given continuing concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, this marks the first time that SEARCH has organized a Symposium as a hybrid event. Symposium participants can attend in-person, at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, MO, or virtually on a feature-rich digital platform.

“Despite significant progress in rolling out vaccines nationwide,” said SEARCH Executive Director David J. Roberts, “we will limit attendance to about 150 people onsite and leverage our dynamic digital platform to enable everyone to participate.”

The digital platform provides access to live/live-streamed keynote and workshop sessions, as well as virtual/prerecorded workshops. All Symposium content will be available on demand for 30 days following the event. The platform also provides impressive networking opportunities to connect with other attendees, speakers, and solution providers, through direct messaging, video chats, and online forums.  A Virtual Exhibit Hall enables participants to explore technologies, services and resources offered by Symposium sponsors, and the ability to interact with these industry-leading solution providers.

SEARCH has launched a Call for Presentations. Potential speakers are encouraged to submit proposals for both in-person and virtual workshops.

“We’re excited to be able to host a broad array of workshops addressing some of the most crucial issues confronting the justice community today,” Roberts noted. “Expanding our reach to incorporate virtual speakers and attendees through our digital platform will enhance and enrich the strength of our program.”

On-site attendees will be able to attend the live sessions, visit on-site sponsors, and participate in networking events, as well as access all the features of the digital platform.

The 2021 Symposium website ( provides details on the event, including the program agenda, workshop tracks, an overview of the digital platform, sponsor opportunities, fees, hotel/travel information, and more.

Online registration will be available soon. Bookmark the Symposium site and connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook using the hashtag #SEARCH2021. We’ll announce when registration opens.

SEARCH first held national symposia in the 1970s, and in the 1990s and early 2000s held six Symposia focusing on justice information sharing and policy issues: 1994, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2004, and 2006. More recently, SEARCH held a Symposium in 2019 in conjunction with its 50th anniversary.

SEARCH is a national nonprofit consortium of Governor-appointed Members that plays a critical and enduring role in designing, developing and managing criminal history record information systems and information sharing capabilities nationwide.  SEARCH devotes its efforts and resources to build and support responsible information management and sharing to address the ever-evolving needs of local, state, tribal, and federal justice and public safety agencies and practitioners nationwide.  The 2021 SEARCH Symposium continues our long-standing practice of partnering with legal experts, industry thought-leaders, researchers, practitioners, technical developers, and justice and public safety professionals to learn, to engage, and to effect change.
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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.

Michael Mackay

Mr. Michael Mackay is an Information Sharing Developer for SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics. As part of the Software and Data Engineering Program (SDEP) team, he plans, develops, implements, and deploys information sharing systems on behalf of SEARCH clients in local, state, tribal, and Federal government settings. He also provides programming, configuration, and testing assistance, and consults on implementation architecture and design with clients. 

Mr. Mackay supports justice, public safety, and homeland security information sharing nationwide through SDEP services that include software architecture and systems design, application development, deployment and support, data management services, and direct technical assistance and training. These services offer capabilities that include federated query, authentication access/control, subscription/notification, process/workflow automation, data analysis, and more. 

Prior to joining SEARCH in 2021, Mr. Mackay worked as a Software Engineering Intern for TDM Business Toole Suite, where he provided software development support using Java frameworks, implemented relational database models using MySQL, and designed GUI components using NetBeans. 

Mr. Mackay will work in an Agile development environment, a methodology that SEARCH embraces that focuses on incremental development and delivery, collaboration in a team approach, and rapid and flexible response to change throughout the development cycle. 

Mr. Mackay earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics and Statistics from Stony Brook University, New York.