CHP Investigator John D. Hootman

The John Hootman Memorial Award (formerly known as the "Hooter's Hummer" Award) will be presented annually at the January meeting of the Western States Auto Theft Investigators (WSATI) Association.  It is named after the late California Highway Patrol Investigator John D. Hootman of the Inland Division Investigations Services Unit.  It honors the memory of an officer who gave so much time, effort, enthusiasm, and innovation towards helping the construction industry prevent and resolve equipment crimes.

The name "Hooter's Hummer" represents the last major case he spearheaded, the $10 million dollar recovery case against a suspect.  This was the code name that John created for that memorable five-year case.  That case remains the largest recovery of stolen construction equipment in United States History.

There are two parts to this award.  First, a permanent gold hard hat, on which a small personalized plaque will be added each year naming the newest winner.  The hard hat will be passed from winner to winner at this annual meeting.  Second, a personalized plaque will be given each year to the current winner to keep.

The 2016 recipients of the John Hootman Memorial Award were involved in an investigation stemming from the report of a single stolen diesel engine that had been installed in a dump truck in California.  As it turned out, the engine had been reported stolen from Florida before being sold to a customer here in California.

Over time and with much diligence, these investigators developed a partnership with Florida State Prison and soon discovered that this was more than just a case involving one single engine.  It became clear that there was a theft ring that was in the business of stealing commercial vehicles, dismantling them, and then selling the parts to innocent customers in California and throughout the U.S. via the internet.

A total of 26 stolen engines were recovered, 15 in Florida and 11 in California.  With the cooperation and input of these Investigators, the Florida State Police have arrested 4 subjects who are being charged with multiple felonies.  The total loss in the case exceeded $2 million dollars and through the dedication of these Investigators, the recovery amount was $2 million dollars.

The 11 innocent purchasers of the engines that ended up in California were very fortunate to have these two investigators who were willing to go the extra mile and negotiate with numerous insurance companies and the Florida victims who the engines were stolen from.  Because of their efforts, all 11 of the innocent purchasers were allowed to keep those engines.

The recipients of the 21st Annual John Hootman Memorial Award were CHP Inland Division ISU Investigators Kasey Banuelos and Jeff Strout.

John Hootman Perpetual Award


The following people have been recognized by the Crime Prevention Program and awarded the John Hootman Memorial Award:

Year Recipient(s) Agency at Time of Award
2016 Kasey Banuelos, Jeff Strout CHP Inland Division ISU
2015 Jim Kelley CHP Border Division ISU
2014 Karie Mendoza CHP Inland Division ISU
2013 Miguel Garcia, Fred Langley, Matt Lewis, John Rodriguez, Scott Von Gorder RAID
2012 Ben Black, Joe Williamson LAPD Safe Detail
2011 Karie Mendoz CHP Inland Division ISU
2011 Matt Lewis, John Rodriguez RAID
2010 Riverside AutoTheft Interdiction Detail Team RAID
2009 Gabe Marquez CHP Southern ISU - TRAP
2008 CHP Inland Division ISU Team  CHP Inland Division ISU
2008 Heath Kuhlmann (Special Recognition Award) CHP  / SANCATT
2007 Michael Perez LAPD - BAD CATS
2006 Richard Cheever CHP Southern Division ISU
2006 Lou Koven LAPD - BAD CATS
2005 Michael Hartmann, Juan Ponce Ventura County Sheriffs
2004 Michael Harris, Kurt Nester CHP Inland  Division ISU
2003 CHP Coastal Division SLOCATS Team CHP SLOCATS
2003 CHP Inland Division ISU Team (Special Recognition Award) CHP Inland Division ISU
2002 Pete Herrera, Steve Reardon CHP Border Division ISU
2002 Bill Chamberlin, Bill Kibbett CHP Border Division ISU
2001 Riverside AutoTheft Interdiction Detail Team RAID
2000 Rick Marshall CHP CECATS
1999 Dale Nancarrow TRAP - North
1999 Steve Kolb LAPD - BAD CATS
1998 Riverside AutoTheft Interdiction Detail Team RAID
1997 Riverside AutoTheft Interdiction Detail Team RAID
1996 Dave Schwartzkoff CHP Inland Division ISU
WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Current members of the WSATI organization, including individual law enforcement officers or their departments, task forces, insurance companies, private investigators, etc.  If a multi-agency group or task force is selected, the award will be presented to the whole unit, not a single officer representing the group.

DATES AND LOCATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY: Activities which took place before November 30th, 2017 will be considered. To be eligible, activities must have taken place within at least one of the ten Southern California counties, the same area covered by the Crime Prevention Program.

ELIGIBLE ACTIVITIES: Prevention or resolution of construction industry theft or vandalism incidents, apprehension of suspects, and training or educational activities for officers or the general public.  These construction cases should reflect the nominee's personal interest, enthusiasm, commitment, and innovation.  The award is not to be based on the dollar value of any recoveries, although any overall value should be noted.

For a copy of the application, contact the CPP Office or click here for an Adobe .pdf version of the application that can be downloaded and printed.

DEADLINE: All mailed entries must be received at the CPP Office by December 30, 2017.  Please send entries to:

                Crime Prevention Program of SoCal
                John Hootman Award Nomination
                2390 E. Orangewood, Suite 585
                Anaheim, CA 92806

                (562) 860-9006 / 24-Hour Reward / Hotline 800-432-7257 X 823

The presentation will take place at the January 2018 WSATI Southern Chapter Training Meeting / Luncheon at Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que in Cerritos.  For information regarding the WSATI Training Meetings, please click here or on the WSATI man below.

For more information regarding the Crime Prevention Program, click here.

For a review of the actual "Hooter's Hummer" case file from John Hootman (password encrypted), please click here.

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