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16Nov2017

SEARCH Organizes November 7 Capitol Hill Briefing on Availability of Domestic Violence Protection Orders and Misdemeanor Crimes of Domestic Violence Information to the NICS

A SEARCH panel answers questions from congressional staff and other attendees at a November 7, 2017, Capitol Hill briefing on the availability of DVPO and MCDV information to the NICS. From left are: Robin Stark-Nutter, FBI; Brad Truitt, SEARCH Chair and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Rob Valente, National Domestic Violence Hotline; Rachel Graber, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Richard Schauffler, National Center for State Courts; and Devon Adams, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice.

SEARCH organized a briefing for congressional and association staff focusing on the availability of domestic violence protection orders (DVPO) and misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence (MCDV) information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

The November 7 event featured experts from the FBI, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), two domestic violence organizations, the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), and SEARCH, who briefed Congressional, agency, and association staff.

Panelists outlined how the firearms eligibility process works by providing an overview of NICS — including the databases involved, where the information comes from, and where it is stored.  The briefing also explored the critical roles of the local and state agencies in contributing data, and that of the states and the FBI in the firearms eligibility decision-making process.

In addition, panelists discussed: what constitutes a DVPO and the criteria that make these orders eligible for a firearms purchase determination; the role of the courts and prosecutors in this process; the funding programs that support NICS; and the challenges, obstacles and successful strategies involved in sharing information with the NICS.

Briefing panelists were:

  • Robin Stark-Nutter, NICS Section Chief, FBI NICS
  • Brad Truitt, Director of Information Systems, TBI, who is Chair of the SEARCH Membership Group and Board of Directors
  • Rob Valente, Senior Policy Advisor, National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • Rachel Graber, Public Policy Manager, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • Richard Schauffler, Director, Research Services, NCSC
  • Devon Adams, Chief, Criminal Justice Data Improvement Program, BJS
  • Melissa Nee, Director of Government Affairs, SEARCH
  • Dennis DeBacco, Justice Information Services Specialist, SEARCH Law and Policy Program 

This briefing provided an opportunity to educate Congressional, agency, and association staff on this important issue.

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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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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. 

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