INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF
AUTO THEFT INVESTIGATORS
THE LEE S. COLE OFFICER OF THE YEAR AWARD
|Year||Name||Agency at Time of Award|
|2017||Jeff Clements||California Highway Patrol, VENCATT|
|2013||Todd Wolf||California Highway Patrol Southern Division|
|2012||Robert Baraban||Phoenix (AZ) Police Department|
|2011||Tim Coyle||San Diego (CA) Police Department|
|2010||Gord Elias||Royal Canadian Mounted Police - IMPACT - British Columbia|
|2009||Dennis McNulty||Arizona Department of Public Safety|
|2008||Melissa Norred||Yuma (AZ) Police Department|
|2007||Steve Nowlin||Colorado Department of Public Safety|
|2006||Michael Harris||California Highway Patrol Inland Division|
|2006||Kurt Nester||California Highway Patrol Inland Division|
|2005||Glenda Nissen||Pierce County (WA) Sheriffs Department|
|2005||Kim Triplett||Washington State Patrol|
|2004||John Bier||Arizona Rattler Auto Theft Task Force|
This award is presented to a member of the law enforcement community who has demonstrated exceptional performance in the area of auto theft prevention and investigation. The award is restricted to active law enforcement personnel who are members in good standing of the Western Regional Chapter of IAATI. The award consists of a plaque and payment of registration fee for the yearly Seminar. A $500.00 cash stipend can be applied for to assist with the recipient's expenses to attend the Annual Seminar (hotel/travel/etc) where the award will be presented. Contact the WRC-IAATI Treasurer Dennis Frias for information on the requirement to qualify for the stipend.
The recipient will be determined by a committee comprised of Western Regional Chapter Executive Board members. Please submit nominations to 2018-2019 WRC-IAATI President Wendell Takata and Treasurer Dennis Frias by August 16, 2019. Please submit a 1 page description of the nomination. The cut-off date for the nominated activity is between June 15, 2018 and June 15, 2019. The award will be presented during the Western States Auto Theft Investigators Association (WSATI) Training Seminar in San Diego, taking place on October 13-17, 2019. For further information on the Seminar, please click here.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Wendell Takata or Dennis Frias.
The 2013 Award was presented at the November 2013 WSATI Training Meeting / Luncheon in Long Beach on November 21, 2013, due to the recipient being unavailable at the time of the 2013 AATIA Seminar. IAATI Western Regional Chapter President Bud Hood came up to the podium to present the annual WRC-IAATI Lee S. Cole Award. Bud then read the 2013 recipient's nomination and then Bud announced the 2013 WRC-IAATI Lee S. Cole Award recipient was California Highway Patrol Investigator Todd Wolf.
The suspect was conducting a fraudulent loan modification business. He would also convince his victims he had a vehicle program that could assist them improve their credit. The suspect or a co-conspirator would bring the victims to several dealerships and purchase 4 to 5 vehicles. The victims were able to keep one of the vehicles as their own. The suspect via the business scam told the victims each vehicle would be paid in full within 6 months including the vehicle they kept for themselves. The suspect would then obtain fraudulent DMV documents to indicate the loan was satisfied and paid in full. These documents were then presented to the DMV. Once the lien holders were removed, the suspect would have coconspirators go to three title loan companies and obtain title loans. Some of the vehicles were title washed a second time and new title loans were obtained. Additional suspects are being investigated was charges are pending.
Because of Investigators Wolf’s hard work, most of
the vehicles and water craft have been recovered. Investigator Wolf
testified in front of the federal grand jury. Based on his testimony,
27 felony counts were filed against against the suspect for the vehicle
theft portion of the investigation. From the two criminal investigations
(state and federal), the suspect was looking at 270 years in federal prison
if found guilty. He pled to two felony counts and 4 years in federal