Vernon M. Keenan has been named the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust’s 2017 Humanitarian Award recipient.

On March 30, Governor Nathan Deal signed a proclamation declaring April 23 – 30, 2017, as “Holocaust Days of Remembrance” in Georgia. By Law, the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust is charged with holding an annual remembrance observance. The 2017 Humanitarian Award will be presented to Vernon M. Keenan on April 28 during the 2017 Days of Remembrance ceremony in the State Capitol.

Vernon M. Keenan was appointed Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) by Governor Sonny Purdue in 2003. He was re-appointed on 2011 by Governor Nathan Deal. He has been a member of the GBI since 1973.

Keenan began his career in law enforcement as a police officer with the DeKalb County Georgia Police Department (November 1972 - June 1973). During Keenan's career, he has been promoted to every rank in the GBI's Investigative Division. In June of 1993, Keenan was promoted to Deputy Director and placed in command of the Investigative Division.

During the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Keenan was one of several officials in charge of the State Law Enforcement Command Center. He was also agency manager for the GBI's participation in planning security for the 1996 Olympic Games. In this capacity, he was dispatched as a law enforcement observer to the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain and was a member of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange Program (GILEE) to Israel in March 1993.

Keenan has participated in professional exchange programs in Israel, China, Spain, Germany, Turkey, the Republic of Georgia and the United Kingdom.  He is a guest lecturer on law enforcement issues at the FBI National Academy and throughout the United States.  He serves as a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Executive Committee, Investigation Operations Committee and the Dangerous Drugs and Narcotics Committee.  Keenan is Chairman of the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council (CICC).

Keenan received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Valdosta State College in 1972. He is a graduate of the 117th Session of the FBI National Academy (May, 1979 - June, 1979). In 1997, Keenan graduated from the Georgia Chiefs of Police Command College with a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Columbus State University.

Keenan has received the following awards:  A Hero of Open Government Award (July 2005) Atlanta Journal-Constitution; CIT Leadership Award (February 2006) Georgia Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness; 2008 Outstanding Georgia Police Chief of the Year - Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.

Keenan is an Eagle Scout. He has been married since 1972 to Joan Thomas Keenan from St. Mary's, Georgia. They live in Cherokee County and have two sons.