May 15, 1998 - Marquis Hotel - Palm Springs

President Dave Dempsey called the meeting to order. Retired LAPD - BAD CATS (and Palm Springs resident) Detective Bill (B.J.) Johnson led the membership in the pledge of allegiance (after taking a few seconds to remember how to begin).  Dave then introduced the current WSATI board members.  Self introductions of all in attendance were then made.  Dave then spoke of the passing of long time WSATI member Mark DeGroff and a moment of silence was observed.  Dave gave a special thanks to Hertz Rent-A-Car for sponsoring the May meeting.

Due to formal uniform inspections taking place at the Los Angeles Police Department, our usual contingent of representatives from that agency were among the missing.

Vice President Randy Ballin then introduced the guest speaker, DMV Senior Special Investigator Stephanie J. Wheaton (310 391-6268).  She has been involved in law enforcement for about 22 years.

She prepared a registration manual which was distributed to the membership.  If you did not attend, you may want to contact Stephanie for a copy.  The manual was prepared to give investigators a better idea of what information can be obtained from DMV registration records to further assist in the investigation of your cases.  Stephanie took a great deal of time to make this manual easy to understand, a very user friendly manual.  Information in this manual will allow you to ask the DMV technicians the right questions when contacting Sacramento for the registration information you are seeking.

Stephanie's presentation was well received by the WSATI membership in attendance.  As Dave declared “I also want to thank you.  I have been around for a long time and that's probably the best, right on presentation that we wanted to get across here.”  This was seconded with thunderous applause.

Dave then introduced Vice President Randy Ballin (CHP Southern ISU 213 664-0695 ext. 308) who wished to speak about a new trend regarding the creation of titles to facilitate VIN switches.  This appears to be generated through lien sales.  Please contact Randy on a one to one basis for details (no sense letting the bad guys know what is going on by publishing it here).

The meeting was adjourned for the lunch hour.

After a hearty luncheon, Dave reconvened the meeting and asked if anyone had anything they wished to share with the membership.

Ted Saraf (LoJack Corporation 310 286-2610 X3003), formerly of Pasadena PD, and now the LoJack Law Enforcement Liaison, spoke about the growth of LoJack into Arizona.  They are now on line in Ventura County with all police agencies participating including the CHP.  They already had their first activation in Ventura. Ted wanted to remind everyone that he and LoJack are here to assist law enforcement in whatever way they can.  Ted requests that anytime a vehicle is recovered utilizing LoJack, he be notified so proper credit can be given the Officers and Deputies involved.  LoJack has also come up with a device for heavy construction equipment.   Dave noted that LoJack is supporting the upcoming conference, not only financially, but is also providing a LoJack as a door prize.

RAID Lieutenant Mike Williams requested Randy remind everyone that RAID (909 955-2770), in conjunction with the Crime Prevention Program (CPP), NICB, and MGA, Inc (auctioneers), will be holding Heavy Equipment Training Seminars.  There are several planned.  The next two classes will be held on Thursday, June 25, 1998.  One class session will run between 0800-1200 hours, and another class session will run between 1300-1700 hours.  The training is limited to 25 students per class and is further limited to Auto Theft Investigators only.  Deadline for reservations is Monday, June 8, 1998.  They will have a barbecue lunch available for $5.00, served at the training site, between 1130-1330 hours.

Dave Dempsey then introduced Past President Joan Pitts (Hertz Rent-A-Car 310 568-3409).  Joan wished to present the co-recipient of the 1997 Billy Osborn Memorial Award, San Diego PD Detective Jerry Park (George Sentman, the co-recipient, received his award at the January meeting).  Joan introduced two prior winners of the award, Marianne Finney and Myron Smith.  The award represents the dedication and service to the WSATI Southern Chapter which was always provided with a smile by the late Billy Osborn.

Dave Dempsey spoke quickly about the problems of stolen V-Tec engines.  He said there would be a good presentation on V-Tec engines at the annual seminar.

The WSATI membership (most abstaining) gave Treasurer Bill Lovold this month's Bent Screwdriver Award.  If anyone is interested, Bill won because Joan Pitts nominated him for leaving her check in the money box during lunch after he removed all currency prior to taking his lunch.  This must mean everyone is doing a great job doing vehicle theft investigations, because no one had any other tales of  “screwups” which would qualify for the Bent Screwdriver Award.

Door prizes were then distributed.

Dave announced information regarding the 1998 WSATI annual training seminar, to be held September 30th, October 1st, and 2nd, 1998 at the Town and Country Hotel, in San Diego. He suggested bypassing the toll free number and calling the San Diego Town and Country Hotel directly at 619 291-7131 to make your reservations.

He reminded everyone we need help in obtaining donations and gifts.  An application form for the conference is in the minutes which will be mailed out. 

Dave reminded everyone of the next meeting in Marina Del Rey.  The meeting was then adjourned.

Secretary/Newsletter Editor Gary Labb is attempting to update the WSATI mailing list and roster.  He is soliciting e-mail addresses from the members.  Use of e-mail for delivery of the WSATI Newsletter and announcements would help control mail and postage costs. If you would like to receive your newsletter via e-mail, please contact Gary via his e-mail address or business phone/voice mail (glabb@wsati.org / 714 245-8425). Marianne Finney and State Farm Insurance have graciously absorbed the Newsletter copying/mailing/postage costs for many, many years.  Hopefully we can help them by converting to a partial e-mail system.

If you are having any difficulties receiving the mailings (U.S. Postal type), please contact Marianne.  She is in control of that mailing list and any corrections to the list need to go through her.

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