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HEAT Program Honors Virginia Law Enforcement Agencies and Officers

Awards Recognize Efforts in Auto-Theft Reduction

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia State Police (VSP) Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program presented awards to three Virginia police departments and nine police officers to recognize their efforts in reducing vehicle theft and theft of vehicle parts in the commonwealth. The awards ceremony took place on August 26 during the annual conference of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and Foundation held in Norfolk.

The Henrico County Police Division was the winner in the agency category serving more than 100,000 citizens. The Roanoke City Police Department took the top prize in the agency category serving serving a population from 20,001 to 100,000, while the Salem Police Department was recognized in the same category as an agency finalist.

Officer Melissa Foster with the Roanoke City Police Department and Officer Shane Richardson with the Henrico County Police Division took the top honors in the individual category. Detective Mark Adkins with the Salem Police Department and Detective Christopher Gordon with the Henrico County Police Division were named individual awards finalists.

Certificates of merit were presented to Officers Aubrey Hughes, William Jenkins Jr. and Shawn Maxwell Jr. with the Henrico County Police Division. Also receiving certificates of merit were Detective Thomas Nash, Roanoke City Police Department and Officer Thomas Newman, Salem Police Department.

“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. Thomas Molnar, HEAT Program Coordinator. “These annual awards are an opportunity to recognize outstanding efforts.”

The HEAT Awards program is an annual competition open to all Virginia law enforcement entities and employees who work in auto theft enforcement and prevention. Nominees must demonstrate excellence in at least two of the following four categories: enforcement, intelligence gathering, prevention and recovery.

“Virginia citizens also have an important role to play in preventing auto theft,” said First Sgt. Molnar. “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 HEATreward.com.

The Virginia State Police Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program was established in 1992 to educate citizens and law enforcement about the theft of vehicles and vehicle parts. For more information, visit HEATreward.com. Visit Virginia State Police online at www.vsp.virginia.gov.

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