CHP Investigator John D. Hootman

The John Hootman Memorial Award (formerly known as the "Hooter's Hummer" Award) will be presented annually at the January meeting of the Western States Auto Theft Investigators (WSATI) Association.  It is named after the late California Highway Patrol Investigator John D. Hootman of the Inland Division Investigations Services Unit.  It honors the memory of an officer who gave so much time, effort, enthusiasm, and innovation towards helping the construction industry prevent and resolve equipment crimes.

The name "Hooter's Hummer" represents the last major case he spearheaded, the $10 million dollar recovery case against a suspect.  This was the code name that John created for that memorable five-year case.  That case remains the largest recovery of stolen construction equipment in United States History.

There are two parts to this award.  First, a permanent gold hard hat, on which a small personalized plaque will be added each year naming the newest winner.  The hard hat will be passed from winner to winner at this annual meeting.  Second, a personalized plaque will be given each year to the current winner to keep.

As presented by Executive Director Melissa Somers at the WSATI Southern Chapter Training Meeting / Luncheon in Cerritos on January 18, 2018:

The 2017 recipients of the John Hootman Memorial Award were involved in an investigation stemming from one simple call to dispatch regarding a stolen Bobcat skid steer with a pinging GPS in the city of Menifee.  The case was assigned to two investigators that soon discovered the stolen Bobcat was just the beginning…

The Bobcat had been dropped off at a heavy equipment painter. It was discovered that the individuals who had dropped it off would be picking it up a few days later to sell at auction.  When the suspects returned to pick up the stolen Bobcat they were questioned by LE. It then became evident that the suspects had a very lucrative business of buying and selling heavy equipment – with many of the pieces being purchased from a soon-to-be suspect in the San Diego area who was posting items on Craigslist. Although they possessed handwritten bills of sale for many of the items, the suspects admitted to fraudulently putting down inaccurate amounts paid for the items.  Soon after, the San Diego suspect posted a new Craigslist add for Bobcat Mini Excavator and the two investigators made arrangements to meet him in Murrieta and purchase it.  The suspect arrived and was detained by RAID.  He admitted to selling several stolen items to the original suspects over a period of several months.  Search warrants were served at multiple locations including the suspects’ residence, four storage units in Temecula and the suspects’ rented lot in Lake Elsinore.  A total of 6 arrests related to this case have been made so far – and more than 17 pieces of equipment have been recovered valued at over $226,000.

This year’s winners have a combined total of 35 years serving with the California Highway Patrol and 12 with the RAID taskforce.  We are pleased to honor their efforts.

The recipients of the 22nd Annual John Hootman Memorial Award were CHP / Riverside AutoTheft Interdiction Detail (RAID) Investigators John Nogues and John Rodriguez.

In addition to honoring the John Hootman Memorial Award winners, CPP honored another individual who has contributed to our organization and the members we serve, with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sometimes it can be tough to measure the impact an individual has on an organization and the significant difference that person makes can be easily overlooked.  This award symbolizes an ongoing level of support of CPP that is exceptional and incomparable.  It represents a history, of more than 18 years, of dedication, service and enumerable contributions towards CPP in our mission to reduce crime in the construction industry.  This Lifetime Achievement Award is being presented to an individual who exemplifies the meaning of both support and loyalty– to CPP, to our Board of Directors, to our members and the Executive Director.

Those who have the privilege of knowing him would agree that ….His knowledge, dedication and work ethic are paralleled only by his kindness, integrity and constant willingness to help.  It is with great honor that the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dennis Frias.

John Hootman Perpetual Award


The following people have been recognized by the Crime Prevention Program and awarded the John Hootman Memorial Award:

Year Recipient(s) Agency at Time of Award
2017John Nogues, John RodriguezRAID
2017Dennis Frias (Lifetime Achievement Award)Locator Technologies / OCRA
2016 Kasey Banuelos, Jeff Strout CHP Inland Division ISU
2015 Jim Kelley CHP Border Division ISU
2014 Karie Mendoza CHP Inland Division ISU
2013 Miguel Garcia, Fred Langley, Matt Lewis, John Rodriguez, Scott Von Gorder RAID
2012 Ben Black, Joe Williamson LAPD Safe Detail
2011 Karie Mendoz CHP Inland Division ISU
2011 Matt Lewis, John Rodriguez RAID
2010 Riverside AutoTheft Interdiction Detail Team RAID
2009 Gabe Marquez CHP Southern ISU - TRAP
2008 CHP Inland Division ISU Team  CHP Inland Division ISU
2008 Heath Kuhlmann (Special Recognition Award) CHP  / SANCATT
2007 Michael Perez LAPD - BAD CATS
2006 Richard Cheever CHP Southern Division ISU
2006 Lou Koven LAPD - BAD CATS
2005 Michael Hartmann, Juan Ponce Ventura County Sheriffs
2004 Michael Harris, Kurt Nester CHP Inland  Division ISU
2003 CHP Coastal Division SLOCATS Team CHP SLOCATS
2003 CHP Inland Division ISU Team (Special Recognition Award) CHP Inland Division ISU
2002 Pete Herrera, Steve Reardon CHP Border Division ISU
2002 Bill Chamberlin, Bill Kibbett CHP Border Division ISU
2001 Riverside AutoTheft Interdiction Detail Team RAID
2000 Rick Marshall CHP CECATS
1999 Dale Nancarrow TRAP - North
1999 Steve Kolb LAPD - BAD CATS
1998 Riverside AutoTheft Interdiction Detail Team RAID
1997 Riverside AutoTheft Interdiction Detail Team RAID
1996 Dave Schwartzkoff CHP Inland Division ISU
WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Current members of the WSATI organization, including individual law enforcement officers or their departments, task forces, insurance companies, private investigators, etc.  If a multi-agency group or task force is selected, the award will be presented to the whole unit, not a single officer representing the group.

DATES AND LOCATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY: Activities which took place before November 30th, 2018 will be considered. To be eligible, activities must have taken place within at least one of the ten Southern California counties, the same area covered by the Crime Prevention Program.

ELIGIBLE ACTIVITIES: Prevention or resolution of construction industry theft or vandalism incidents, apprehension of suspects, and training or educational activities for officers or the general public.  These construction cases should reflect the nominee's personal interest, enthusiasm, commitment, and innovation.  The award is not to be based on the dollar value of any recoveries, although any overall value should be noted.

For a copy of the application, contact the CPP Office or click here for an Adobe .pdf version of the application that can be downloaded and printed.

DEADLINE: All mailed entries must be received at the CPP Office by December 30, 2018.  Please send entries to:

                Crime Prevention Program of SoCal
                John Hootman Award Nomination
                2390 E. Orangewood, Suite 585
                Anaheim, CA 92806

                (562) 860-9006 / 24-Hour Reward / Hotline 800-432-7257 X 823

The presentation will take place at the January 2019 WSATI Southern Chapter Training Meeting / Luncheon at Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que in Cerritos.  For information regarding the WSATI Training Meetings, please click here or on the WSATI man below.

For more information regarding the Crime Prevention Program, click here.

For a review of the actual "Hooter's Hummer" case file from John Hootman (password encrypted), please click here.

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