ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The Roanoke City Police Department and the Salem Police Department earned recognition from the Virginia State Police’s HEAT (Help Eliminate Auto Theft) program during an awards ceremony Monday.
Roanoke City Police took the top prize in the agency category serving to serve 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 took the top honors in the individual category. Detective Mark Adkins with the Salem Police Department was named one of the individual awards finalists.
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.
To learn more about the HEAT program visit HEATreward.com.