AUTO THEFT ADVISORY COMMITTEE (A.T.A.C.)
ORANGE COUNTY VEHICLE THEFT
2014 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.

25th Annual Awards Presentation Brunch

Thursday, June 11, 2015 9:00 a.m. - The Irvine Marriott Hotel

Those participating in the program:
Pledge of Allegiance: Irvine Police Department Honor Guard
Lieutenant Michael Stefanoff, CHP Border Division / OCATT
Invocation: Chaplain Kathleen Kooiman, Orange County Sheriff's Department
Introduction: Lieutenant Michael Stefanoff, CHP Border Division / OCATT
Master of Ceremonies: Mr. Pat Haslam, KNX 1070 Radio / KOCE "Real Orange" Reporter
Guest Speaker:  Chief Jim Abele, CHP Border Division
Presentation of Awards: Lieutenant Michael Stefanoff, CHP Border Division / OCATT 
Mr. Aristeed Powell, 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 Michael Stefanoff
ATAC Chairperson, CHP Border Lieutenant Michael Stefanoff, introduced the Irvine Police Department Honor Guard who presented the United States and California flags on the front stage.  Lieutenant Stefanoff led the Pledge of Allegiance. 

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

Lieutenant Stefanoff 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 Stefanoff spoke about this year's selection process.  Lieutenant Stefanoff 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 Stefanoff then introduced the Master of Ceremonies Pat Haslam.  Mr. Haslam has been the voice of Orange County ATAC for the past 25 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. 

California Highway Patrol Border Division Assistant Chief John AntillonAfter the brunch, Pat Haslam then introduced Mr. Ted Saraf, Law Enforcement Liaison for LoJack Corporation (Los Angeles Area).  Ted 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. 

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

Pat Haslam then introduced the guest speaker, California Highway Patrol Border Division Chief Jim Abele.  Chief Abele spoke about the great work that the nominees of 2014 did in recovering stolen vehicles.  Chief Abele also spoke about the newest generation of law enforcement officers.

Master of Ceremonies Pat HaslamMaster of Ceremonies Pat Haslam then announced the Orange County 2014 Recovery Officer of the Year Recipients as Lieutenant Michael Stefanoff, WSATI Southern Chapter President / Department of Motor Vehicles Investigator Aristeed Powell,  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 2014 RECOVERY OFFICER OF THE YEAR RECIPIENTS:
Anaheim Police Department Officer Kevin Flanagan
Brea Police Department Officer Chris Wood
Buena Park Police Department Officer Conner Lee
California Highway Patrol - Capistrano Area Officer Kenneth Rethwisch
California Highway Patrol - Santa Ana Area Officer Dustin Snider
California Highway Patrol - Westminster Area Officer Lance Nieves
Cal State University Fullerton Police Department No Nominee submitted by agency
Costa Mesa Police Department Officer Anthony "Tony" Reitz
Cypress Police Department No Nominee submitted by agency
Fountain Valley Police Department Officer James Cataline
Fullerton Police Department Corporal Eric Bridges
Garden Grove Police Department Officer Chuck Starnes
Huntington Beach Police Department Officer Don Drake
Irvine Police Department Officer Nick Kim
Laguna Beach Police Department Officer Brian Clasby
La Habra Police Department Officer Mucio Sanchez
La Palma Police Department Officer Jeff Beaty
Los Alamitos Police Department Officer Paul Barbieri
Newport Beach Police Department Officer Randall Lawton
Orange County Sheriff's Department - North Deputy Tyrone Enriquez
Orange County Sheriff's Department - South Deputy Matthew LeFlore
Orange Police Department Officer Rene Guerrero
Placentia Police Department Officer Joseph Gillis
Santa Ana Police Department Officer Michael Gibbons
Seal Beach Police Department Recipient wished to remain anonymous
Tustin Police Department Officer Joseph Cossack
University of California Irvine Police Department No Nominee submitted by agency
Westminster Police Department Officer Michael Harvey
Each of the Officers and Deputies listed above were honored for recovering the most stolen vehicles at their agencies during 2014.  In 2014, these 25 officers, representing almost every law enforcement agency in Orange County, arrested a total of 135 vehicle theft suspects, and recovered 360 vehicles exceeding a value of 3 million dollars!

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, 102 vehicles, including 24 "rolling stolens," resulting in 29 arrests, with a recovery value of $620,000.  This 17 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 three prior occasions, leading the County in stolen vehicle recoveries in 2007, 2008, and 2013.  Unfortunately Officer Flanagan was away at graduation ceremonies.  Anaheim Police Department Detective George Barraza, representing 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.  Detective Barraza also accepted the Perpetual Winner's Award that goes to the Top Officer's Department to be displayed until next year's Awards Ceremony. 

Officer Chuck Starnes of the Garden Grove Police Department was honored as the Officer recovering the second most stolen vehicles in the county, recovering 34 stolen vehicles, including 21 "rolling stolens," resulting in 31 arrests, with a recovery value of $195,000.  Officer Starnes, utilized a combination of patrol techniques, License Plate Reader technology and good old fashion police work, to apprehend these suspects involved in all aspects of vehicle theft and related crimes.  Some of these suspects were involved in carjackings, unreported stolen vehicles, cold-plated stolens, possession of narcotics, shaved keys and burglary tools, just to mention a few.  Officer Starnes 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 Michael Gibbons of the Santa Ana Police Department was honored as the Officer recovering the third stolen vehicles throughout the entire county, 51 vehicles, including 12 "rolling stolens," resulting in 13 arrests, with a recovery value of $400,000.  Officer Gibbons was presented with a check for the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Santa Ana by John Sackrison, Executive Director of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association. 

Officer Conner Lee of the Buena Park Police Department was honored as the Officer recovering the fourth most stolen vehicles in the county, recovering 14 stolen vehicles, including 8 "rolling stolen," resulting in 18 arrests, with a recovery value of $178,000.  Three of these arrests came from unoccupied vehicles, with no license plates, causing Officer Lee to take some “extra” investigative work, establishing surveillances of the vehicles which ultimately resulted in numerous arrests per recovery.  Unfortunately Officer Lee could not attend the Awards program.  He will be presented at a later date 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 Michael Harvey of the Westminster Police Department, was honored as the Officer recovering the fifth most stolen vehicles in the county, recovering 28 stolen vehicles, including 5 "rolling stolens," making 6 arrests, resulting the recovery value of $160,000.  Officer Harvey 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. 

ATAC also recognized two 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. 

Representing the California Highway Patrol – Santa Ana Area, Officer Dustin Snider.  Officer Snider was only assigned to patrol for a very limited time during 2014 and still had some impressive results in his Vehicle Theft recovery efforts. In one particular case, while tracking a LoJack signal, Officer Snider arrested two suspects in possession of two separate stolen vehicles, $2,500 in stolen construction equipment, and the recovery of 57 stolen credit/gift cards.  Exceptional work Officer Snider.  Unfortunately Officer Snider was unable to attend, so accepting the award on his behalf was Lt. Brent Pembleton of the CHP – Santa Ana Area. 

Representing the Costa Mesa Police Department, Officer Anthony Reitz.  Although ATAC places a higher emphasis on “Rolling Vehicle Theft Arrests” Officer Reitz’s outstanding efforts in the area of Vehicle Theft recovery cannot go unrecognized.  In 2014, Officer Reitz recovered 53 stolen vehicles with an estimated value in excess of $700,000.  Thank you Officer Reitz for your tireless dedication to your work.

Mr. Haslam then introduced and thanked the Orange County Auto Theft Advisory Committee members who put together the awards presentation; Mr. Keith Levin, 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 2015 President Aristeed Powell and Past President Gary Labb, of the Western States Auto Theft Investigators Association, Southern Chapter, and 2015 President Pat Goodman and Past President Dennis Frias, Orange County Auto Theft Investigators Association, for their continuing help and sponsorship of this event. 

Some of the 2014 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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