National Law Enforcement Recognition Program
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP Highway Safety Committee), in cooperation with the 3M Traffic Safety and Security Division, established this program to recognize officers whose observations of a license plate resulted in the apprehension of a suspect or the solution of a crime.
Case histories submitted by law enforcement officers substantiate the importance of license plates as effective tools in crime resolution.
Brought to you by 3M Traffic Safety and Security Division and International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP Highway Safety Committee).
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP Highway Safety Committee), in cooperation with the 3M Traffic Safety and Security Division established this program to recognize officers whose observations of a license plate resulted in the apprehension of a suspect or the solution of a crime. Case histories submitted by law enforcement officers substantiate the importance of license plates as effective tools in crime resolution. The winning entry will receive an expense paid trip to the Annual Meeting of the IACP; Honorable Mention Award winners also will be acknowledged.
All entries in the 2017 award program must be based on license plate observations occurring between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016. All entries for the award program must be entered by May 15, 2017 EST. If you need additional information, please call 651-736-5864.
Top Honors Award
Trooper Pamela M. Neff– Virginia State Police
The 2016 Top Honor is awarded to Trooper Pamela M. Neff of the Virginia State Police for her initiative and decisive action to use her vehicle’s license plate reader (LPR) to locate the suspect in the double homicide of a television reporter and photographer in August, 2015. (A summary of the case can be found below.)
“The Virginia State Police is most proud of Trooper Neff and her fellow troopers’ quick actions and dedicated efforts demonstrated the afternoon of August 26 on Interstate 66,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “This incident not only affirms Trooper Neff’s initiative and skill as a public safety professional, but also highlights the value of license plate readers as a significant investigative tool for law enforcement.”
The 2016 Honorable Mentions are awarded to Officer Carlos Gastelum of the Oro Valley, Arizona, Police Department; Trooper Michael Borski of the Michigan State Police; and Officer Todd Newman of the California Highway Patrol.
The awards were presented at the IACP Highway Safety Awards Breakfast on October 18, 2016, in conjunction with the IACP Annual Conference and Exposition in San Diego, California.
Top Honors Award
Trooper Paulsen noticed that the rear license plate was tinted and the side windows were also tinted on a white Chevrolet cargo van and initiated a traffic stop on September 13, 2014. Two males and one young female were sitting on the front seat, none of which were licensed to operate motor vehicles. There was a dark blanket spread in the back of the van and a foot was sticking out. The blanket appeared to be covering several people so Trooper Paulsen called for backup.
Further investigation revealed twelve additional subjects in the back, including a young boy. None of the occupants spoke English so an interpreter was contacted by phone and it was determined that the boy was six years old. Additional discussion led to the real name of the young boy, who was told to change his name upon entering the van.
FBI Human Trafficking Task Force became involved and it was determined that two of the occupants were seventeen years old and one was six years old. The juveniles were all taken to children’s housing for care. The adults were all transported to a county jail.
The six year old boy was not related to anyone in the vehicle and thought he was being taken to his mother in Las Vegas. Later, a call was received from a male subject in New Jersey claiming he was a neighbors of the child’s grandmother and was trying to gain access to the boy. There was a strong feeling from all officers that the boy was destined for a life in the child labor or sex industry. It is unclear what this pair actually had in store for the boy, but it clearly was not what had been promised to him.
Federal charges were filed by the FBI against the two initial male subjects for human trafficking violations. Both pled guilty within weeks due to the solid case. There were so many officers from so many departments involved, each performing outstanding work. But it all started with Trooper Blair Paulsen making a traffic stop for an obstructed license plate violation and taking the time to look well beyond the original stop.
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