Steve Nawojczyk (nuh VOY check) began his public service career in 1973 when he was named as the youngest director of one of the first municipally operated ambulance services in the state of Arkansas, a position he held for seven (7) years. During this tenure, the ambulance service received the highest honors available for patient care and operations by the Department of Health.
Steve was elected to serve as the coroner in two of Arkansas’ most populated counties and served two years as the director of the Arkansas State Crime Lab, having been appointed by Governor Bill Clinton.
He has over 25 years of death investigation experience and routinely instructed at the state and local police academies on the topics of investigation and non-traditional juvenile groups including gangs.
Nawojczyk has served on numerous public commissions and boards having to do with both death investigation and emergency medical services. He was a founding member and training officer of the Arkansas Coroner’s Association and was the founding president of the Arkansas E.M.T. Association.
Upon his retirement as the coroner in Pulaski County (Little Rock area) at the end of 1994, he began a research and lecture tour dealing with juvenile violence and gangs. He has spoken in over 45 states to various groups, organizations and government entities and has developed a highly acclaimed student assembly on non-violence which has been seen by hundreds of thousands of students nationwide.
Nawojczyk’s work with gangs was featured in the award-winning HBO America Undercover documentary, Gang War: Bangin’ in Little Rock and was a co-producer of the follow up documentary Back in the Hood also by HBO. He is one of the nation’s most sought after and quoted educators on juvenile violence and gangs and how communities can deal with them. His lectures are frequently labeled “Best in Show” and he is often invited back to make follow-up presentations due to attendee feedback.
"He is a raconteur who delivers a serious and somber message cloaked in an exciting up and down touch-all-your emotions roller coaster ride. Not only is the problem of youth violence clearly defined, but he challenged each of us to evaluate our lives and become change agents."-- From an evaluation at a college lecture.
Nawojczyk retired as the manager of the System Improvement Program in the Community Services Section of the Arkansas State Division of Youth Services. Part of his duties there included supervising the Serious Violent Offender Reentry Initiative, a highly acclaimed reintegration plan for youth being released back to the community and he was the manager of the Staff Development and Community Outreach section.
From 2001 until 2008 he was director of the Youth Services Division of the Mayor’s Office in North Little Rock, Arkansas, where his duties included monitoring youth activities and overseeing an award-winning residential drug treatment facility for pregnant women, one of only a few in the nation which keeps the family intact while they receive treatment. Under his guidance, the city developed the Youth Services Advisory Council which was named one of the top intervention and prevention plans in the country by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
He was honored as the “Outstanding Community Leader of the Year” by the Arkansas School of Religious Studies for his work. In 2003 he was given the Juvenile Justice Advocate of the Year award by the Arkansas Coalition of Juvenile Justice and the Writing and Research Award by the Arkansas School Counselor’s Association.
In 2004, Nawojczyk was named to the City Year Little Rock Board of Directors representing North Little Rock, a position he held for two years. In 2008 Nawojczyk was named to the Hall of Fame for Arkansas Boys State. In 2018 he was admitted to the Arkansas EMT Association Hall of Fame.
Nawojczyk has served as an advisor to the Arkansas Attorney General's task force, the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Massachusetts Teacher’s Association, Purdue University, Ohio State University, the U.S. State Department, the National Association of Attorneys General, the Arkansas Public Defender’s Commission, the Arkansas and Georgia governor's offices, the Utah Attorney General, the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission and the New York general assembly among many other police, government agencies and schools. In addition to HBO, he has also been featured by: PBS's Jobs: A Way Out?, ESPN's Outside The Lines: Gangs vs. Sports, Larry King Live, NPR, the Health Network, the BBC and numerous other local and national print and electronic media. He is frequently asked to assist in productions of various kinds of shows about gangs and violence including: NYPD Blue, CBS News Up to the Minute, Donahue, Jenny Jones and others both in the United States and worldwide.
Nawojczyk also frequently testifies in various courts about the dynamics of contemporary street gangs and other legal issues.