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WESTERN STATES AUTO THEFT INVESTIGATORS ASSOCIATION
SOUTHERN CHAPTER

47th ANNUAL TRAINING SEMINAR
October 13th - 27th, 2019

SEMINAR EVENTS

Beginning on Sunday afternoon, WSATI Southern Chapter 2019 Associate Director Robbie Midzuno and his wife, Teri, began selling, with the assistance of Ryan Rasmussen, the new WSATIWear, as well as past seminar WSATIWear.  They also began selling lunch tickets for Monday and Tuesday if anyone wished to eat a lunch prepared by the hotel rather than trying to find something in the near vacinity and make it back for classes to start in an hour.

After registration, most of Sunday evening saw participants renewing old acquaintances and meeting new contacts, in other words, networking and intelligence gathering. Bartenders Kelsie and Justin presided over the information gathering.

Throughout the breaks between classes, Robbie and Teri continued selling the raffle tickets to those attending the seminar.   

Bartenders Kelsey and Justin Monday Night Football / Mexican Fiesta Networking Event Former NFL Player Dante Hughes
Bartenders Kelsey & Justin Hospitality Room Dante Hughes

Monday evening, after classes ended, a Mexican Buffet was provided to the attendees, along with several big screen TVs to watch Monday Night Football.  This was an opportunity to network with old friends and new friends.  There was also a little car show arranged by Vice President Johnny Miyasaki taking place in the parking lot outside the Cabrillo Room.  Johnny also arranged for former professional football player, cornerback Dante Hughes (Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers), to attend the buffet and game.  Dante also was seen enjoying the car show outside.   

Tuesday afternoon, the IAATI Western Regional Chapter held their Annual General Meeting and Elections.  The meeting and elections were presided over by 2018-2019 President Wendell Takata (HI).  IAATI 2019-2020 Director Todd Wolf and IAATI 2019-2020 Associate Director Richard Spallinger also attended the meeting, as did IAATI WRC Past Presidents Gary Labb (2007), Dennis Frias (2015-2016), John Bartolone, (2016-2017), and Mick O'Neill (2017-2018).  The following were the results of the election process:

2020 President Carmen Swanson (AZ), Sunwest Federal Credit Union (Retired)
2020 1st Vice President Robert "Robbie" Midzuno (CA), Nationwide Insurance SIU
2020 2nd Vice President Mike "Bo" Beauregard (CA), California Highway Patrol (Retired) 
2020 3rd Vice President Charlie Warner (AZ), Arizona Department of Public Safety
2018-2019 Past President Wendell Takata (HI), State of Hawaii Department of Attorney General

The following Board appointments were made:

2020 Treasurer Dennis Frias (CA), Locator Technologies / OCRA
2020 Associate Director Melissa Somers (CA), Crime Prevention Program of Southern California
2020 Associate Director Bruce Hosea (CA), LAPD / TRAP
2020 Legal Counsel Richard Knapp (CA), Knapp & Spurlock, LLP

Tuesday evening, after classes ended, attendees were on their own, with nothing formal planned.  Kelsey and Justin again presided over an information gathering event.

2019 WSATI Southern Chapter President Mick O'NeillSan Diego Co District Attorney Summer StephanOn Wednesday night there was the annual banquet, awards presentation, and raffle. 

WSATI 2019 Southern Chapter President Mick O'Neill welcomed everyone to the banquet and was the master of ceremonies for the event.  

Mick announced that San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan was able to come to the event and she gave a brief address to the attendees.

Mick then announced that since Ms. Stephan could only briefly stay at the event, that one of the evening's awards would be presented at this time.  He called up NICB Special Agent Neil Carmody to present one of the Northern Chapter's Gary Gray Auto Theft Achievement Awards. Neil announced one of the awards would be presented to the San Diego County Regional Auto Theft TaskForce for "Operation Blindside" – large scale vehicle subleasing and financing fraud case.  Receiving the award on behalf of RATT was CHP Captain James Portilla.   Individuals honors were:  San Diego PD Detetective Steve Lincoln, San Diego Deputy District Attornies Stacy McReynolds and Jeanie Williams, and NICB Field Analyst Diann Mann.

Comedian Jason CollingsMick O'Neill then announced that dinner was ready to be served. The attendees found plenty of great food at the three buffet tables and the numerous dessert tables. Many were seen going for the dessert while waiting in line for the buffet...

Mick then invited comedian Jason Collings to perform while dinner service was being completed.  Following Jason's performance, Mick made introductions of the 2019 WSATI Southern Chapter Officers who were in attendance:

Vice President Johnny Miyasaki, Long Beach Police
Secretary Melissa Somers, Crime Prevention Program of SoCal
Treasurer
Joe Starbird, Long Beach Police
Sergeant-At-Arms
Jesse Bravo, Irwindale Police / TRAP
Associate Director Robbie Midzuno, Nationwide Insurance SIU
Associate Director Mike Octave, LASD / TRAP
Associate Director Alan Skobin, LASD / TRAP
Associate Director Richard Spallinger, National Insurance Crime Bureau
Legal Counsel, Richard O. Knapp, Knapp &
Spurlock, LLP

Mick introduced the Southern Chapter Past Presidents in attendance: Dennis Frias (1997), Gary Labb (2000), Lou Koven (2002), John Bartolone (2010), and Rob Manning (2013). 

Mick started the Awards Presentations by inviting Southern Chapter Vice President Johnny Miyasaki to the podium to present the Southern Chapter's Billy Osborn Memorial Award.  Johnny gave a background of the award, and recognized the previous recipients who were in the audience, Gary Labb (2000), Lou Koven (2003), Dennis Frias (2007), Geri Ward (2009), and Martha Jones-Joseph (2009).  Johnny then announced the 2018 Billy Osborn Memorial Award recipient to be Richard O. Knapp.  Richard came up on the stage and accepted the Award.  He seemed shocked but had a big smile on his face. 

L-R: Mick O'Neill, Richard O. Knapp, Johnny Miyasaki

Mick then invited NICB Special Agent Neil Carmody to the podium to present the remainder of the Northern Chapter's Gary Gray Auto Theft Achievement Awards. 

The next Gary Gray Auto Theft Achievement Award was presented to the Stanislaus County Auto Theft Task Force (STANCATT) for "Operation Blooming Onion" – large VIN switch investigation.   Receiving the award on their behalf was CHP Lieutenant Tony Dominguez.

The next Gary Gray Auto Theft Achievement Award was presented to the CHP Valley Division Investigative Services Unit for a long term commercial vehicle theft and burglary case.  Receiving the award on their behalf was CHP Investigator Jason Craven.

The last Gary Gray Auto Theft Achievement Award was presented to the Los Angeles County TaskForce for Regional AutoTheft Prevention (TRAP) – West Team for an auto subleasing investigation.  Receiving the award on their behalf was Lt. Mike Octave.  

Mick then made two special presentations.  The first was a WSATI Southern Chapter President's Award to the Los Angeles County TaskForce for Regional AutoTheft Prevention (TRAP) - West Team.

 

The second was a Special Recognition Award to Los Angeles County TaskForce for Regional AutoTheft Prevention (TRAP) - East Team Detective Michael Vandenberg.

Following the awards, the raffle was presided over by WSATI Southern Chapter President Mick O'Neill.   Assisting were WSATI Southern Chapter Vice President Johnny Miyasaki, WSATI Southern Chapter Secretary Melissa Somers, WSATI Southern Chapter Sergeant-At-Arms Jesse Bravo, and WSATI Southern Chapter Associate Director Robbie Midzuno.  As many of the attendees commented, "a lot of great prizes."  So much so that there people buying raffle tickets throughout dinner until the drawing began. 

There were numerous door prizes handed out.  There were lots of great door prizes including big screen TVs, some travel adventures, gift cards, and many more door prizes, too many to mention.  It appears that those that bought the most raffle tickets did the best, except for a few who came up empty handed. 

Mick thanked those who had been involved in putting on the Training Seminar.   Mick also thanked all the attendees for making this a memorable and successful seminar.  

Following the conclusion of the night's event, Kelsey and Justin again presided over the information gathering network event. 

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