AUTO THEFT ADVISORY COMMITTEE (A.T.A.C.)
ORANGE COUNTY VEHICLE THEFT
2013 RECOVERY OFFICER OF THE YEAR AWARDS PRESENTATION BRUNCH
Sponsored by the Orange County Auto Theft Advisory Committee (A.T.A.C.), a partnership between law enforcement, insurance, and other auto related companies to reduce auto theft. A.T.A.C. is a subcommittee of the Western States Auto Theft Investigators Association, Southern Chapter.

24th Annual Awards Presentation Brunch

Thursday, May 8, 2014 9:00 a.m. - The Irvine Marriott Hotel

Those participating included:
Pledge of Allegiance: Irvine Police Department Honor Guard
Lieutenant Brian Lee, CHP Border / OCATT
Invocation: Chaplain Kathleen Kooiman, Orange County Sheriff's Department
Introduction: Lieutenant Brian Lee, CHP Border / OCATT
Master of Ceremonies: Mr. Pat Haslam, KNX 1070 Radio / KOCE "Real Orange" Reporter
Guest Speaker:  Assistant Chief John Antillon, CHP Border
Presentation of Awards: Lieutenant Brian Lee, CHP Border / OCATT 
Mr. Tim Jackson, Western States Auto Theft Investigators Association
Mr. Keith Levin, Automobile Club of Southern California
Special Presentation: Mr. John Sackrison, Orange County Automobile Dealers Association
Mr. Ted Saraf, LoJack Corporation
Irvine Police Department Honor GuardOrange County ATAC Chairperson CHP / OCATT Lieutenant Brian Lee
ATAC Chairperson, CHP Border Lieutenant Brian Lee, introduced the Irvine Police Department Honor Guard who presented the United States and California flags on the front stage.  Lieutenant Lee led the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Lieutenant Lee then introduced Orange County Sheriff's Department Chaplain Kathleen Kooiman who gave the invocation. 

Lieutenant Lee then explained that ATAC was a subcommittee of the Western States Auto Theft Investigators (WSATI) Association, allowing ATAC to provide donors with the benefits of a non-profit organization. 

Orange County Sheriff's Department Chaplain Kathleen KooimanLieutenant Lee spoke about this year's selection process.  Lieutenant Lee said that significant pro-active contributions by officers to reduce auto theft, combined with a higher emphasis on "rolling stolens" and significant case highlights were the elements of the criteria to be considered. 

Lieutenant Lee then introduced the Master of Ceremonies Pat Haslam.  Mr. Haslam has been the voice of Orange County ATAC for the past 24 years.  Mr. Haslam is a familiar face and voice in Orange County.  He is a news anchor for KNX1070 News Radio; and known to many in Orange County as “Dr. Drive” for his many years as the traffic reporter for Orange County News Channel.  Pat was also a feature reporter for KOCE-TV’s news magazine “Real Orange”.  Mr. Haslam gave an opening address and then welcomed everyone to avail themselves of the breakfast buffet. 

Master of Ceremonies Pat HaslamAfter the brunch, Pat Haslam then introduced Mr. Keith Levin, SIU Manager for the Automobile Club of Southern California and Mr. Ted Saraf, Law Enforcement Liaison for LoJack Corporation (Los Angeles Area).  Keith conducted a drawing for two sets of golf balls from AAA.  Ted then conducted the drawing of tickets for a LoJack Security unit.  LoJack donated a LoJack tracking unit to A.T.A.C. to be given as a door prize for attending the event.  Mr. Saraf drew the ticket of the winner of the LoJack, Placentia Police Department Lieutenant Kenneth Alexander

Pat Haslam introduced the Chiefs, Deputy Chiefs, Assistant Sheriff, Captains, Commanders, and dignitaries who were in attendance. 

California Highway Patrol Border Division Assistant Chief John AntillonPat Haslam then introduced the guest speaker, California Highway Patrol Border Division Assistant Chief John Antillon.  Chief Antillon spoke about the great work that the nominees of 2013 did in recovering stolen vehicles. 

Master of Ceremonies Pat Haslam then announced the Orange County 2013 Recovery Officer of the Year Recipients as Lieutenant Brian Lee, WSATI Southern Chapter Vice President / Automobile Club of Southern California Auto Theft Manager Tim Jackson,  and Automobile Club of Southern California SIU Manager Keith Levin,  presented the numerous award plaques and recognition certificates to each of the winners. 

Orange County Automobile Dealers Association Executive Director John Sackrison made a presentation to the top five officers recognized during the awards presentation, a check for $200 in the name of the top five recipients for the Orange County Boys and Girls Club in their respective cities. 

This year's recipients were (by agency):


ORANGE COUNTY 2013 RECOVERY OFFICER OF THE YEAR RECIPIENTS:
Anaheim Police Department Officer Kevin Flanagan
Brea Police Department Officer William Montalvo
Buena Park Police Department Officer Tom Carney
California Highway Patrol - Capistrano Area Officer Ken Rethwisch
California Highway Patrol - Santa Ana Area Officer Dustin Snider
California Highway Patrol - Westminster Area Officer Justin Roberts
Cal State University Fullerton Police Department Officer Steve Nelson
Costa Mesa Police Department Officer Anthony "Tony" Reitz
Cypress Police Department Officer Cassie Miller
Fountain Valley Police Department Officer Brian Casteel
Fullerton Police Department Corporal Robert Kirk
Garden Grove Police Department Officer Jose Herrera
Huntington Beach Police Department Officer Travis Downing
Irvine Police Department Officer Matthew Yparrea
Laguna Beach Police Department Officer James Michaud
La Habra Police Department Sergeant Kyle Davis
La Palma Police Department Officer James Roche
Los Alamitos Police Department Officer Samantha Mathias
Newport Beach Police Department Officer Elijah Hayward
Orange County Sheriff's Department - North Deputy Maria Mendoza
Orange County Sheriff's Department - South Deputy Rhett Gilbert
Orange County Sheriff's Department - Stanton Deputy Christopher Emerson
Orange Police Department Officer Rene Guerrero
Placentia Police Department Officer Jeff Hunziker
Santa Ana Police Department Officer Jimmy Correal
Seal Beach Police Department Officer Pete Krok
Tustin Police Department Officer Brad Saunders
University of California Irvine Police Department No Nominee submitted by agency
Westminster Police Department Officer Scott Gump
Each of the Officers and Deputies listed above were honored for recovering the most stolen vehicles at their agencies during 2013.  In 2013, these 28 officers, representing almost every law enforcement agency in Orange County, arrested a total of 186 vehicle theft suspects, and recovered 863 vehicles exceeding a value of 5.25 million dollars (based on an FBI average recovery value of $6,089 per vehicle)!

The Top Five Honorees were: 

Officer Kevin Flanagan of the Anaheim Police Department was honored as the Officer recovering the most stolen vehicles throughout the entire county, 171 vehicles, including 39 "rolling stolens," resulting in 59 arrests, with a recovery value exceeding 1.04 million dollars.  This 16 year veteran uses a combination of patrol techniques, daily review of stolen vehicle reports, knowledge of offender patterns and releases from custody, crime analysis data, and a strong self initiated activity.  He has received the top ATAC award on two other occasions.  Officer Flanagan has led the County in stolen vehicle recoveries 2 previous times (2007 and 2008).  Officer Flanagan was presented with a check for the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Anaheim by John Sackrison, Executive Director of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association.  Anaheim Police Department Captain Robert Conklin was then called back to the podium to receive the Perpetual Winner's Award that goes to the Top Officer's Department to be displayed until next year's Awards Ceremony. 

Officer Jose Herrera of the Garden Grove Police Department was honored as the Officer recovering the second most stolen vehicles in the county, recovering 47 stolen vehicles, including 19 "rolling stolens," resulting in 24 arrests, with a recovery value of $286,000.  Although pursuit driving and foot chases are common with many of his felony stops, one notable arrest was made at the beginning of his shift in June 2013.  Officer Herrera arrested a probationer who was fitted with a GPS tracker stemming from a prior auto theft conviction.  He found the suspect seated in the driver seat of a recent stolen car in his city.   Officer Herrera was presented with a check for the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Garden Grove by John Sackrison, Executive Director of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association. 

Officer Tom Carney of the Buena Park Police Department was honored as the Officer recovering the third stolen vehicles throughout the entire county, 41 vehicles, including 16 "rolling stolens," resulting in 24 arrests, with a recovery value of $250,000.  Officer Carney has led the County in stolen vehicle recoveries 5 previous times (2012, 2010, 2006, 2004, 2003). Officer Carney was presented with a check for the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Buena Park by John Sackrison, Executive Director of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association. 

Officer Anthony "Tony" Reitz of the Costa Mesa Police Department was honored as the Officer recovering the fourth most stolen vehicles in the county, recovering 50 stolen vehicles, including 1 "rolling stolen," resulting in 1 arrest, with a recovery value of $403,000.  Officer Reitz was presented with a check for the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Costa Mesa by John Sackrison, Executive Director of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association. 

Officer Scott Gump of the Westminster Police Department, was honored as the Officer recovering the fifth most stolen vehicles in the county, recovering 24 stolen vehicles, including 8 "rolling stolens," making 12 arrests, resulting the recovery value of $146,000.  Officer Gump was presented with a check for the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Westminster by John Sackrison, Executive Director of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association. 

Some of the 2013 ATAC Vehicle Theft Recovery Officer of the Year Award Recipients

ATAC also recognized three additional officers for their efforts, presenting them with Honorable Mention plaques. These officers, in addition to being  nominated by their agencies for the Officer of the Year, have been selected for additional recognition by ATAC, based on nomination statements submitted to ATAC.  They are to be commended for their work on these specific 
cases and incidents. 

Cal State Fullerton Police Department Officer Steve Nelson.   With only a one mile radius around the Cal State Fullerton Campus for routine patrols, Officer Nelson’s vigilance and proactive policing resulted in 8 recoveries valued at $49,000 in value, exceeding that of many larger jurisdictions.

Tustin Police Department Officer Brad Saunders.  In Sept 2013, Officer Saunder’s conducted and in-depth investigation on a suspect released on probation for fraud related charges.  The suspect had a recent DUI hit and run in an Audi R8 and was contacted in a $250,000 Rolls Royce.  After receiving a tip from a local dealership regarding a high-end vehicle delivery to the suspect, Officer Saunders enlisted specialized assistance including the US Secret Service to conduct a detailed investigation, which resulted in the recovery of several high end vehicles, illegally obtained by the suspect.  Dozens of key fobs, weapons, bank titles, cell phones, and financial records were also located connected to this high-end auto theft ring. 

Santa Ana Police Department Officer Jimmy Correal.  Starting on December 7, 2013, Officer Correal was conducting follow-up on a credit card theft and fraudulent activity in his City.  He arrested a suspect on credit card theft charges and during the interview he gained information about a stolen vehicle from Enterprise Rent-a-car.  Follow up revealed that 10 rental cars were missing that had not yet been reported stolen, one of which had been used in a DUI traffic collision.   Through good police work, surveillance, following leads, and aid by fellow officers, Officer Correal made 5 arrests and recovered 8 vehicles worth nearly $370,000. 

Mr. Haslam then introduced and thanked the Orange County Auto Theft Advisory Committee members who put together the awards presentation; Mr. Keith Levin, Mr. Tim Jackson, Ms. Martha Jones-Joseph, and Ms. Geraldine Ward of the Automobile Club of Southern California; Mr. Gustavo Cicarelli of the California Highway Patrol; Mr. Art Mata of the Construction Industry Crime Prevention Program of So. Calif.; Ms. Christina Van Voorhis, Enterprise Rent-A-Car; Mr. Mick O'Neill, Hagerty Insurance SIU; Mr. Dennis Frias, the law enforcement liaison for both Locator Technologies and Plate-Net National License Plate Monitoring Services; Mr. Ted Saraf, LoJack Corporation; Special Agent Pat Goodman, National Insurance Crime Bureau; Mr. Richard Knapp and Mr. Jared Ackley, Knapp and Spurlock LLC; Mr. John Sackrison, Orange County Automobile Dealers Association; Mr. Anthony Ko, Toyota Motor Credit; Sergeant James Rocker, OCATT/Newport Beach Police, Sergeant Fel Navarro, OCATT/CHP, and Ms. Heidy Aguilar, OCATT/Orange County District Attorney's Office.  Mr. Haslam also thanked 2014 President Tim Jackson and Past President Gary Labb, of the Western States Auto Theft Investigators Association, Southern Chapter, and 2014 President Dennis Frias, Orange County Auto Theft Investigators Association, for their continuing help and sponsorship of this event. 

Some of the 2013 ATAC Vehicle Theft Recovery Officer of the Year Award Recipients

For Photos from the Awards Ceremony Click Here

Mr. Haslam then thanked the sponsors of this year's awards presentation.  Special thanks go to the following organizations and businesses for participating in and sponsoring Orange County's Auto Theft Advisory Committee and its Officers of the Year Program: 

Automobile Club of Southern California LoJack Corporation
California Highway Patrol - Border Division Nationwide Insurance
Crime Prevention Program of Southern Calif Orange County Auto Theft Investigators
Enterprise Rent-A-Car Orange County Automobile Dealers Association
Hagerty Insurance Toyota/Lexus Financial Services
Knapp & Spurlock, LLP VINMonitor
Locator Technologies, LLC Western States Auto Theft Investigators, Southern Chapter

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