Data Architecture

data-archSEARCH is undertaking a promising data architecture initiative in 2014 and beyond that aims to help create “order out of chaos” for the justice and public safety enterprise. 

The vision of this project is to develop a nationwide public safety and justice data architecture that will help move the nation’s justice and public safety agencies beyond a piecemeal approach to solving information challenges to a thoughtful, well-planned enterprise approach that uses national standards, best practices and data models. 

Data used in justice and public safety exists in a business context—it exists for a reason.  Information flows via processes like events (an arrest), query (criminal history background check), or request (a warrant). 

The architecture will depict  agency interactions (and the data being exchanged) in a way that—

  • Reflects all typical information exchanges between justice agencies and their partners
  • Conforms to principles of service-oriented architecture as outlined in the Global Reference Architecture, particularly service identification and design guidelines.
  • Promotes consistency in modeling data processes and flows.

What is data architecture?

Data architecture identifies the core information (or data) assets of the enterprise. It generally consists of a static view, which describes the semantics, structure, and ownership of information, and a dynamic view, which describes the flow of information among integration stakeholders.

We are doing this by creating a resource—a wiki site—that will help policy, executive and operational stakeholders develop enterprise information sharing architectures that align technology decisions with business objectives, national standards and best practices.  It will promote a standard way of establishing  and adopting an integration architecture—with the bottom-line goal of supporting better decision-making in the enterprise.

The content on the wiki will provide an organized framework to:

  • Identify the business problems to resolve (example: when a parolee is rearrested, inform his parole officer of the arrest)
  • Identify the entities and services involved in the problem
  • Identify the evidence-based practices that resolve the problem, and corresponding/supporting business process models and event metadata
  • Identify the national standards, best practices and other resources—such as service specifications, NIEM and IEPDs—that organizations can leverage when developing and implementing technical solutions.


SEARCH aims to have the wiki site set up in 2014, and populated with initial content.  The wiki is expected to continue to grow and evolve as data sharing architectures are developed for various business problems.  Check back—we plan to fill you in on project details as we move forward. 

This project is funded through a grant received from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).

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.