Virginia State Police HEAT program receives international recognition

Virginia State Police was honored with three awards during the 2017 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Annual Conference held this week in Philadelphia.

Colonel Steve Flaherty, Superintendent and 40-year veteran of the Virginia State Police, received the prestigious J. Stannard Baker Award, which is awarded annually to a law enforcement professional who has made a significant lifetime contribution to highway safety.

The Department also received two awards recognizing its Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program and its support and assistance during a multi-agency investigation into a terrorist threat.

The Leadership in the Prevention of Vehicle Crimes Award
Established in 1992, the HEAT program provides training and support to local law enforcement agencies, including grant funding, and works with citizens to spread awareness about auto theft prevention.

The HEAT program launched an aggressive digital media campaign in 2016 that focused on auto theft prevention education. HEAT utilized its Facebook page, YouTube channel, and website to spread the message, “Take your keys or take your chances” as well as purchasing digital banner advertisements on a variety of websites. The digital campaign, which peaked during July 2016 (also Auto Theft Awareness Month), generated more than 2,300 visits to HEATreward.com that month. HEAT also released two videos during the campaign, and those have nearly 65,000 views as of October 2017.

The Booz Allen Hamilton Leadership in the Prevention of Terrorism Award
In summer 2016, Virginia State Police personnel working with the FBI Washington Field Office Joint Terrorism Task Force took part in a multi-agency terrorism investigation, which resulted in the arrest of Mohammed Bailor (Jalloh), age 26, for attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization.

A former member of the Virginia Army National Guard, Jalloh came to the attention of authorities in April 2016. Investigation revealed that he had intentions of conducting or assisting in a terrorist attack. After months of surveillance and information gathering, Jalloh was arrested on July 3, 2016. He later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison and five years of supervised release.

The J. Stannard Baker Award
During his four decades with the Virginia State Police, Colonel Flaherty has left an indelible mark on highway safety in Virginia and beyond. Since his appointment to Superintendent on October 1, 2003, Colonel Flaherty has proven himself as an experienced, respected, and innovative leader committed to the safety of the people of Virginia.

As an Assistant Safety Officer and safety Officer in the VSP Safety Division, Colonel Flaherty collaborated with car manufacturers, motor vehicle and trucking associations and numerous other specialty agencies to develop and publish uniform national and international vehicle inspection standards and specifications.

In 2000, as Deputy Director of the Bureau of Field Operations, Colonel Flaherty was instrumental in the design, development, and implementation of all BFO operational plans, administrative programs, and highway safety strategies that refined operations, enhanced services, and ensured fair and equal application of the law. One such program implemented under his leadership is the highly-effective “Operation Air, Land & Speed” traffic enforcement effort on Virginia’s interstates, utilizing off-duty troopers to augment high-visibility patrols.

As General Chair of the State & Provincial Police Division of the IACP, he was a driving force behind the development and implementation of the U.S.-wide “Drive to Save Lives” traffic safety campaign in 2014. Unprecedented in its support by state police and highway patrol leaders, police chiefs, and sheriffs, the traffic-safety initiative aimed to not only reduce traffic deaths by 15 percent, but to also improve officer safety on U.S.

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