The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences sponsors the Bruce Smith Sr. Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to criminal justice as an academic or professional endeavor. This award is given to one who has demonstrated leadership in the administration of criminal justice as an academic and/or professional discipline in a manner which reflects the highest standards of integrity and performance. The award recognizes a person who has been actively involved in criminal justice research or other endeavor which has made substantial contributions to the emerging body of knowledge in criminal justice.
Steven Chermak is a Professor in the School of Criminal Justice and a lead investigator affiliated with the The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terror (START). Dr. Chermak’s research has focused on four general areas. First, he has received funding from one of the Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Excellence (The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism–START) to study the criminal and terrorist activities of domestic far right extremists. Working with a colleague at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice (Professor Joshua Freilich), this funding has supported the creation of the United States Extremist Crime Database—a national open source database that includes data on the violent and financial crimes committed by extremists in the United States. Second, he has completed several policing projects. This research includes the evaluation of strategies to reduce violence as well as studying the intelligence practices of State, Local, and Tribal law enforcement agencies. Third, he is studying the sources of funding used by terrorist organizations, with a particular emphasis on examining their use of counterfeited products. Finally, he has studied the media’s role in relation to crime and policing issues. For example, he has examined how community policing and other innovations are presented in the news, discusses the strategies police agencies use to market innovative programs, and how high profile media cases impact police agencies.
His recent terrorism work has been funded by the National Institute of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and the START Center. These projects include an examination of the characteristics of foiled terrorist plots and the counter-terrorism strategies that contributed to their prevention; an examination of how far right and Al Qaeda (and similar movements) use social media to communicate and recruit; and an examination how domestic suicide attackers are different from non-suicide attackers.