RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia State Police (VSP) Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program presented awards to six Virginia sheriff’s offices and four law enforcement officers to recognize their efforts in reducing vehicle theft and theft of vehicle parts across the Commonwealth. The awards ceremony took place on September 19 during the annual conference of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association held in Virginia Beach.
The following awards were presented by First Sergeant Peter Lazear, HEAT Program Coordinator:
The Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office was the agency winner for departments serving a population of more than 100,000, and the New Kent County Sheriff’s Office took the top prize for departments serving a population of 20,001 to 100,000.
Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office won the Public Outreach Award and the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office was named the finalist in this category. The Martinsville Sheriff’s Office received a Certificate of Merit.
Master Detective James Harris, Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, was the individual winner for departments serving a population of more than 100,000, and Detective Rodolfo Riopedre, Powhatan County Sheriff’s Office, was the individual winner for departments serving a population of 20,001 to 100,000.
Individual finalists for departments serving populations of 20,001 to 100,000 were Sergeant Keith Goines, Wythe County Sheriff’s Office, and Deputy Stephanie Torrence, New Kent County Sheriff’s Office.
The HEAT Awards program is open to all Virginia law enforcement entities and employees who work in auto theft enforcement and prevention. “We are grateful to law enforcement agencies and officers from throughout Virginia who join with the Virginia State Police in fighting vehicle theft,” said First Sgt. Lazear. “These annual awards are an opportunity to recognize outstanding efforts.”
“Virginia citizens also have an important role to play in preventing auto theft,” said First Sgt. Lazear. “By following a few common-sense tips, they can protect their vehicles.”
The HEAT program recommends the following:
- Take your keys and lock your doors every time you leave your vehicle.
- Never leave valuables in plain sight in your vehicle. Place them in the trunk or somewhere out of sight.
- Be aware of your surroundings when out and about.
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Invest in an audible or visible deterrent.
- Install GPS or other tracking devices.
Learn more about the HEAT program at www.HEATreward.com .
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