Public Safety, Disaster Preparedness and Relief

SEARCH Group, Incorporated

aka SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics

Sacramento, CA


SEARCH is dedicated to improving the quality of justice and public safety through the use, management and exchange of information; application of new technologies; and responsible law and policy, while safeguarding security and privacy.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Mr. David James Roberts

Main Address

1900 Point West Way Suite 161

Sacramento, CA 95815 USA


Justice, Public Safety, Information Sharing, Integrated Justice, Cybercrime, Digital Evidence





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Management & Technical Assistance (M02)

Management & Technical Assistance (U02)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016.
Register now

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

Since its inception in 1969 with a $600,000 discretionary grant from the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) to a six-state consortium (Arizona, California, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, and New York) to test the feasibility of storing, retrieving and exchanging criminal history record information, SEARCH has played a critical and enduring role in designing, developing, and managing criminal history record information systems and information sharing capabilities throughout the nation. The criminal history record, a biometrically-based longitudinal history created by harvesting information from operational records and case management systems of justice agencies, is the most significant and consequential information at virtually every decision point throughout the whole of the justice enterprise.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Information Sharing and Public Safety Programs

Criminal History Policy

IT Security

Where we work

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of new grants received

Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success


Context notes

SEARCH received four grants to support our work in our three areas of service: Information Sharing and Public Safety Programs, Criminal History Policy and IT Security.

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

Briefly, the goals of SEARCH are to: 1. Improve the administration of justice through the effective application of information and identification technologies; 2. Promote constitutionally balanced and effective law and policy for justice information systems, technology and policies; and 3. Improve the efficiency, effectiveness and quality of decision making and information management through policy leadership and advocacy, and technical assistance, training and support for local, state and federal justice agencies and legislative bodies.

In order to accomplish the broad goals outlined above, SEARCH has formulated a comprehensive and multifaceted program of research, policy advocacy, technical assistance, training, systems development, communication and information dissemination. Following is a brief description of the primary approach SEARCH takes to address the goals previously outlined: 1. Provide technical assistance, training, education, conferences, workshops, on-line information, publications and symposia to local, state and federal justice agencies regarding justice information management and technology, and its application to contemporary issues in justice; 2. Conduct research regarding crime and criminality, the operation of the justice system, the efficiency and effectiveness of justice information management and technology, and the legal and policy implications of contemporary information technology practices; 3. Develop standards and best practices associated with justice information and identification technology, policy, operations, and systems development; 4. Provide evaluations and evaluative criteria and methodologies for systems, technologies and policies; and 5. Design and test tools for the creation, evaluation, operation and use of information systems, technologies and policy.

SEARCH has played a critical and enduring leadership role in building and supporting criminal history record information (CHRI) systems and information sharing capabilities throughout the nation. SEARCH has tackled this mission through partnerships with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, State agencies, and allied organizations. Repositories and Systems: SEARCH modeled and helped develop the first state criminal history records repositories. As fingerprint technology became automated, SEARCH helped guide and develop standards for Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (AFIS) and live-scan devices, and worked with agencies to plan and implement their Computerized Criminal History (CCH) and AFIS systems. Recognizing the fundamental and interrelated nature of justice information sharing, early SEARCH efforts built standards and recommended systems not just for criminal history records repositories, but also Comprehensive Data Systems (CDS in 1972), Offender-Based Transaction Statistics (OBTS in 1972), Offender-Based State Corrections Information System (OBSCIS in 1976), and Crime Classifications Using Attribute-Based Crime Reporting (ABCR in 1976). In 1980, the FBI implemented the Interstate Identification Index (III), based on the SEARCH model for a decentralized, automated exchange of criminal history records. National Leadership: SEARCH Members played a crucial role in developing the National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact, which governs noncriminal justice use of the III, and have provided enduring leadership on the Compact Council since its creation. SEARCH has played critical roles in creating and supporting the III, the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) 2000, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), and the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). CCH is built from the operational records and case management systems of justice agencies at state and local levels, and SEARCH has played a leadership role in developing national standards, technical architectures, and operational best practices to plan and implement integrated justice information systems. Expanding Noncriminal Justice Demand: SEARCH has played a fundamental role in crafting legislation, developing regulations and policies and auditing and data quality improvement strategies, and advocating on behalf of State Criminal History Records Repositories as technology evolved and public demand for access to criminal history records expanded. Over the past two decades we have witnessed massive growth in demand for CHRI for noncriminal justice purposes, including licensing, employment, volunteer screening for those who serve vulnerable populations, and for firearms transactions.

The SEARCH Policy Statements, which were adopted July 29, 2014, articulate profound and enduring values that collectively establish not only strategic vision and foundation for the organization, but also provide guidance in operationalizing those values and establishing a context for ongoing program support and business development. Today we are the leading resource for best practices, expert services, and innovative solutions for justice information sharing. SEARCH is the national venue through which the states articulate their justice information management needs and priorities, and provide thought leadership on justice information sharing issues. Through Member participation and development, SEARCH offers a variety of services: Membership Interaction. We bring states together to collectively and collaboratively identify and address the nation’s information sharing challenges. Members establish a common dialog, drive national changes, and establish a community of interest and expertise. Member collaboration results in information and idea generation, sharing and consensus-building. Research and Information Sharing. We research and analyze emerging issues to understand evolving needs, gaps, and solutions—and to determine opportunities for growth and advancement of the field, as well as to identify the role SEARCH can play. Best Practices and Tools. We develop operational, cost-effective solutions, services, resources, and tools to facilitate effective justice information. Education and Outreach. We share ideas, findings, research, services, resources, and lessons learned with Members and the justice community at large. We provide a singular voice for the Membership Group’s collective knowledge with advice, perspectives, and consensus statements on critical justice information sharing issues.

Given SEARCH’s history as an organization that was originally founded to facilitate the exchange of criminal history record information (CHRI) between the States, we are uniquely positioned to conduct surveys on important CHRI issues. SEARCH has conducted surveys on issues that impact how justice information is collected, maintained, and used—and has done so at the request of the Department of Justice, the States, partner organizations, and our Members. Surveys are often conducted of the State central repositories of criminal history information, and sometimes of our own Membership Group—and other surveys have been conducted of the public. Since 1989, SEARCH has conducted a biennial national survey of state criminal history information systems, then collates and analyzes the results. The resulting report provides law- and policymakers, administrators, managers, academia, research institutions, and other agencies and individuals with the most comprehensive data available on record quantity and completeness, and on procedures used by repositories to collect information and maintain record quality. Recipients of the survey typically include U.S. Senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives, state governors, state attorneys general, law schools and their libraries, public libraries, and public and private security entities—and this report is believed to be the most cited document produced by SEARCH. Additionally, SEARCH has a long-standing national program of providing mission-critical training and technical assistance to law enforcement, including Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force members. Since the mid-1980s, when we first created the National Criminal Justice Computer Laboratory and Training Center, we have trained thousands of investigators. One of our first courses was called Data Processing for Law Enforcement Managers. It presented course content that was critical to investigators who were just beginning to use computers, and also was one of the few ‘high-tech’ courses then available to law enforcement. As technology reaches into nearly all areas of our lives, law enforcement officers are challenged to maintain the skills and tools needed to conduct thorough investigations. Breaks in a case often come only at the expense of perpetrators who make mistakes. But investigators who are unfamiliar with digital evidence can overlook even these kinds of breaks. That is why we are committed to developing and offering courses that help to digitally empower today’s law enforcement community.

External Reviews


SEARCH Group, Incorporated

Need more info on this nonprofit?

Need more info on this nonprofit?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable


Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable

Organizational Demographics

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? This organization has voluntarily shared information to answer this important question and to support sector-wide learning. GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 01/14/2020


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & Ethnicity
Gender Identity
Sexual Orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability Status
Person without a disability

Race & Ethnicity

No data

Gender Identity

Sexual Orientation

No data


No data