HEAT Program Honors Virginia Sheriffs

Awards Recognize Efforts in Auto-Theft Reduction

RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia State Police (VSP) Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program presented awards to Virginia sheriffs in recognition of outstanding efforts in reducing vehicle theft and theft of vehicle parts in the commonwealth. The awards ceremony took place in Willliamsburg on September 12, during the annual conference of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association.

The Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, led by Sheriff Roger L. Harris, was the winner in the agency category serving more than 100,000 citizens. First Sgt. Timothy J. Bryner is the HEAT Coordinator.

The New Kent County Sheriff’s Office, led by Sheriff J. J. “Joe” McLaughlin, Jr., took the top prize in the agency category serving a population from 20,001 to 100,000. Deputy Nicholas Fico is the HEAT Coordinator.

In the individual category, Detective Sergeant Ryan Shobe of the New Kent County Sheriff’s Office won a certificate of merit.

“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 commonsense 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.
 

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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.