AUTO THEFT ADVISORY COMMITTEE (A.T.A.C.)
ORANGE COUNTY VEHICLE THEFT
2015 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.

26th Annual Awards Presentation Brunch

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 9:00 a.m. - The Irvine Marriott Hotel

Those who participated 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, KOCE "Real Orange" Reporter
Guest Speaker:  Sheriff - Coroner Sandra Hutchens, Orange County Sheriff's Department
Presentation of Awards: Lieutenant Michael Stefanoff, CHP Border Division / OCATT 
Mr. Brian Yori, Western States Auto Theft Investigators Association
Mr. Keith Levin, Automobile Club of Southern California
Special Presentation: Mr. Ted Saraf, LoJack Corporation
Irvine Police Department Honor GuardATAC 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 CoOrange County ATAC Chairperson CHP / OCATT Lieutenant Michael Stefanoffunty Sheriff's Department Chaplain Kathleen Kooiman who gave the invocation. 

Orange County Sheriff's Department Chaplain Kathleen KooimanLieutenant 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. 

Lieutenant 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. 

Master of Ceremonies Pat HaslamLieutenant Stefanoff then introduced the Master of Ceremonies Pat Haslam.  Mr. Haslam has been the voice of Orange County ATAC for the past 26 years.  Mr. Haslam is a familiar voice in Orange County.  He is 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. 

After 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 recognized Mr. Robert Banuelos, representing the 46th District – Loretta Sanchez’s office.  Along with their Recovery Officer of the Year plaques, each recipient will be receiving a certificate of congressional recognition.

Guest Speaker Orange County Sheriff Sandra HutchensPat Haslam then introduced the guest speaker, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens.  Sheriff Hutchens spoke about the great work that the nominees of 2015 did in recovering stolen vehicles.  Sheriff Hutchens also spoke about the great work Patrol Officers do in helping the agencies within Orange County.

Master of Ceremonies Pat Haslam then announced the Orange County 2015 Recovery Officer of the Year Recipients as Lieutenant Michael Stefanoff, WSATI Southern Chapter President / LAPD TRAP Detective Brian Yori,  and Automobile Club of Southern California SIU Manager Keith Levin,  presented the numerous award plaques and recognition certificates to each of the winners. 

Pat Haslam also stated that Orange County Automobile Dealers Association Executive Director John Sackrison could not attend this year's event, however OCADA made a presentation to the top five officers recognized during the awards presentation, giving 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 are (by agency):


ORANGE COUNTY 2015 RECOVERY OFFICER OF THE YEAR RECIPIENTS:
Anaheim Police Department Officer Kevin Flanagan
Brea Police Department Officer Jereme Hsu
Buena Park Police Department Officer Mario Escamilla
California Highway Patrol - Capistrano Area Officer Chris Wolter
California Highway Patrol - Santa Ana Area Officer William Deutsch
California Highway Patrol - Westminster Area Officer Vince Rossini
Cal State University Fullerton Police Department No Nominee submitted by agency
Costa Mesa Police Department Officer Anthony "Tony" Reitz
Cypress Police Department Officer Michael McBain
Fountain Valley Police Department Officer Nicholas Nance
Fullerton Police Department Officer Anthony Valle
Garden Grove Police Department Officer Chuck Starnes
Huntington Beach Police Department Officer Humberto Valdez
Irvine Police Department Officer Tim Irwin
Laguna Beach Police Department Officer Thomas McGuire
La Habra Police Department Officer Travis Nelson
La Palma Police Department Officer Ron Lopino
Los Alamitos Police Department Detective Justine Kim
Newport Beach Police Department Officer Ricardo Adame
Orange County Sheriff's Department - North Deputy Scott McTigue
Orange County Sheriff's Department - OCTA Deputy Donald Lee
Orange County Sheriff's Department - San Clemente Deputy Christopher Jones
Orange County Sheriff's Department - Southeast Deputy Ernie Ragadio
Orange County Sheriff's Department - Southwest Deputy Mario Saldivar
Orange County Sheriff's Department - Stanton Deputy Bryce Simpson
Orange County Sheriff's Department - Yorba Linda Deputy Joe Ramirez
Orange Police Department Officer Corey Trippy
Placentia Police Department Officer Zachary King
Santa Ana Police Department Officer Michael Gibbons
Seal Beach Police Department Officer Chris Hendrix
Tustin Police Department Officer Dave Welde
University of California Irvine Police Department No Nominee submitted by agency
Westminster Police Department Officer Daniel McCarthy

Each of the Officers and Deputies listed above were honored for recovering the most stolen vehicles at their agencies during 2015.  In 2015, these 31 officers, representing almost every law enforcement agency in Orange County, arrested a total of 215 vehicle theft suspects, and recovered 523 vehicles with a value of $3,372.884.

The Top Five Honorees were:

Officer Michael Gibbons of the Santa Ana Police Department was honored as the Officer recovering the most stolen vehicles throughout the entire county, 113 vehicles, including 41 "rolling stolens," resulting in 55 arrests, with a recovery value in excess of $780,000.  Officer Gibbons has worked diligently and had a significant impact on the vehicle theft problem not only in Santa Ana, but the entire County of Orange.  Officer Gibbons was presented with a check for the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Santa Ana by the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association.  Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas accepted the Perpetual Winner's Award that goes to the Top Officer's Department to be displayed until next year's Awards Ceremony.

Officer Kevin Flanagan of the Anaheim Police Department was honored as the Officer recovering the second most stolen vehicles throughout the entire county, 63 vehicles, including 24 "rolling stolens," resulting in 31 arrests, with a recovery value in excess of $350,000.  Officer Flanagan, utilizes his years of expertise, a combination of patrol techniques, knowledge of crime trends in his patrol area, and a strong work ethic of self-initiated activity, to continually recover stolen vehicles and arrest vehicle theft suspects.  Officer Flanagan, was presented with a check for the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Anaheim by the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association.

Officer Mario Escamilla of the Buena Park Police Department was honored as the Officer recovering the third most stolen vehicles in the county, recovering 31 stolen vehicles, including 24 "rolling stolen," resulting in 45 arrests, with a recovery value om excess of $320,000.  Many of these stolen vehicles were located unoccupied, and rather than simply recovering these vehicles, Officer Escamilla took the time to establish and maintain surveillance of these vehicles resulting in the high number of arrests and criminal charges.  Officer Escamilla was presented with a check for the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Buena Park by the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association.

Officer Chuck Starnes of the Garden Grove Police Department was honored as the Officer recovering the fourth most stolen vehicles in the county, recovering 27 stolen vehicles, including 18 "rolling stolens," resulting in 26 arrests, with a recovery value in excess of $300,000.  Several of these arrests came from cold plated vehicles, “bolo” broadcasts, and just good old fashioned police work, causing Officer Starnes to take some “extra” investigative work, which ultimately resulted in numerous arrests per recovery.  Officer Starnes was presented with a check for the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Garden Grove by the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association.

Officer Anthony "Tony" Reitz of the Costa Mesa Police Department, was honored as the Officer recovering the fifth most stolen vehicles in the county, recovering 79 stolen vehicles, including 7 "rolling stolens," making 7 arrests, with a recovery value in excess of $749,000.  Officer Reitz was presented with a check for the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Costa Mesa by 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 Orange Police Department, Officer Corey Trippy.  Officer Trippy’s relentless effort resulted in 35 recovered stolen vehicles, 7 of which were “rolling stolens” resulting in 10 arrests, with a recovery value of nearly $175,000.  Thank you Officer Trippy for your tireless dedication to your work.

Representing the Westminster Police Department, Officer Daniel McCarthy.  In 2015, Officer McCarthy 34 recovered stolen vehicles, 5 of which were “rolling stolens” resulting in 7 arrests, with a recovery value in excess of $218,000.  In one specific case, Officer McCarthy established a surveillance of a stolen vehicle, as the suspect returned, the Officer was able to conduct a Felony Stop, and located a loaded shotgun, additional stolen property, in addition to the suspect being on probation and a documented Gang Member.

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. James Rocker, National Insurance Crime Bureau; and Ms. Heidy Aguilar, OCATT/Orange County District Attorney's Office.

A special thanks to many of the sponsors in attendance, Dennis Frias from Locator Technologies and International Association of Auto Theft Investigators - Western Region Chapter, Eric Chase of Car Max, Erin Dunbar of Enterprise Rent a Car,  Richard Knapp and Jared Ackley of Knapp and Spurlock Law Firm, Ted Saraf and Kevin Gauthier of the LoJack Corporation, Robbie Mizuno from Nationwide Insurance, the entire WSATI Board, and John Sackrison and the Orange County Auto Dealers Association for their tremendous support of our program.

For Photos from the Awards Ceremony Click Here

Some of the 2015 Orange County ATAC Recovery Officer of the Year Award Recipients

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
Locator Technologies, LLC
California Highway Patrol - Border Division
LoJack Corporation
CARMAX
Nationwide Insurance
Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Orange County Auto Theft Investigators (OCATI)
Hagerty Insurance
Orange County Auto Dealers Association (OCADA)
International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI)
Toyota / Lexus Financial Services
Knapp & Spurlock, LLP
VIN Monitor
Gary Labb
Western States Auto Theft Investigators, Southern Chapter

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