SEARCH Board Selects BJS Deputy Director Dr. Gerard Ramker for 2012 O.J. Hawkins Award

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Gerard (Gerry) Ramker
  • He has worked tirelessly to improve justice administration and public safety by supporting national efforts to develop, manage, and responsibly share criminal justice information.

  • He dedicates time and effort to working cooperatively with the states on strategies to improve criminal history recordkeeping.

  • He is effective, approachable, and involved.

For these leadership qualities and more, the SEARCH Board of Directors is pleased to recognize Dr. Gerard (Gerry) Ramker, Deputy Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), by selecting him for the 2012 O.J. Hawkins Award for Innovative Leadership and Outstanding Contributions in Criminal Justice Information Systems, Policy and Statistics.

Practitioner Honor

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, past recipients of the O.J. Hawkins 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 (Florida), Liane Moriyama (Hawaii), and Dawn Peck (Idaho). 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.

Strong States Supporter

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.

"Gerry continues to be at the forefront in providing opportunities for the states and other criminal justice agencies to make solid data-driven decisions," they stated in their nomination letter to the Board. "These include using research studies and developing meaningful performance measures and quality control indices that can be used by agencies to track and support measures of improvement."

Prior to joining BJS in 2004, Dr. Ramker spent a 20-year career with the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, where he was director of its Research and Analysis Unit, Illinois' Statistical Analysis Center, and program development for the Illinois State Police Division of Forensic Services and Identification. His service in this arena is seen as a "testament to his lifelong dedication to improve criminal justice information, and enhance its impact to the administration of justice," the letter stated.

In addition to his significant work and impact while at BJS, and for his dedication to improving, using, and managing criminal justice data, the SEARCH Board's selection of Dr. Ramker for the 2012 Hawkins Award also addresses another distinctive leadership quality, as noted in the nomination letter:

"His effective approach in raising the level of cooperation and dedication by criminal justice agencies across the nation, which have made his efforts come to fruition."

SEARCH plans to present the 2012 O.J. Hawkins Award to Dr. Ramker at a ceremony later this year.

SEARCH is a nonprofit organization governed by a Membership Group of governor appointees from the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the territories. It has 43 years' experience supporting the information sharing, interoperability, communications, information technology, electronic crime investigative and criminal records systems needs of State, local, and tribal justice and public safety agencies and practitioners nationwide.