The SEARCH Board of Directors awarded Dr. Gerard (Gerry) Ramker, Deputy Director, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the 2012 O.J. Hawkins Award for Innovative Leadership and Outstanding Contributions in Criminal Justice Information Systems, Policy and Statistics. In addition to his leadership qualities, the Board cited:
The O.J. Hawkins Award is SEARCH's highest practitioner honor, and 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, recipients of this award 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 Chairman and Executive Director.
Dr. Ramker was nominated for the award by SEARCH members Donna Uzzell (FL), Liane Moriyama (HA), and Dawn Peck (ID). As SEARCH members, representatives of state criminal history repositories, and members of the National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact Council, they have had the opportunity to work closely with Dr. Ramker over the years. They note that while at BJS, Dr. Ramker has been "a strong and conscientious supporter" of funding to the states through NCHIP (National Criminal History Improvement Program), NICS (National Instant Criminal History Background System), and other major initiatives.
Dr. Ramker joined BJS in October 2004 as Chief of the Criminal Justice Data Improvement Program and administered, among other programs, the State Justice Statistics Program, as well as the National Criminal History Improvement Program, the Tribal Criminal History Record Improvement Program, and the Stalking and Domestic Violence Records Improvement Program. Prior to joining BJS, Dr. Ramker had a 20-year career with the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, where he was director of its Research and Analysis Unit, the state's Statistical Analysis Center. As SAC Director, he served on JRSA's Executive Committee as Secretary/Treasurer. SEARCH plans to present the 2012 O.J. Hawkins Award to Dr. Ramker at a ceremony later this year.