Law enforcement officers and retail loss prevention professionals from across North and South Carolina came together at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center in Myrtle Beach, SC on Thursday, October 5 for the 8th Annual Conference of the Carolinas Organized Retail Crime Alliance (CORCA). CORCA, managed by the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association, is a collaborative effort between retailers and law enforcement to reduce organized retail crime.
More than 160 participants were welcomed to the event by Jason Major, an Online Fraud & Retail Crime Manager, LPC, CFCI, CCCI, for Lowe’s Home Improvement and the 2022-23 CORCA president. Retail attendees represented all types of stores from chains to one-store operations and included grocery, apparel, pharmacy, beauty, home improvement and general merchandise. Law enforcement officers from police and sheriff’s departments in both states, as well as district attorneys, were active participants as well.
Expert speakers covered a wide scope of topics including: Financial Crimes, Partnership to Prosecution, SNAP Fraud, Operation Boiling Point along with several sessions highlighting public-private partnerships into disaster and continuity planning and joint shoplifting operations tracking organized crime groups. Raul Aguilar, Deputy Assistant Director of Homeland Security Investigations, was a featured speaker about Operation Boiling Point 2.0. Attendees also heard from other panels of speakers that included law enforcement, district attorneys and retailers from North and South Carolina who shared their first-hand knowledge of current organized retail crime trends, the methods learned to deter further loss, and the importance for law enforcement and retail to continue to build a strong network to share information.
Kicking off the afternoon sessions was the awards presentation for the 2023 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for both North and South Carolina. Officer Bryan Walker was named the 2023 North Carolina Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. An officer for 13 years, Officer Walker is currently assigned to the Providence Division and the Organized Retail Crime Task Force with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Investigator Ronnie Horn was named the 2023 South Carolina Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. Beginning his law enforcement career in 1978, Investigator Horn is currently assigned to the Investigative Division with the Spartanburg Police Department. Both officers were commended for their partnerships with retailers and commitment to identifying organized retail crime operations, apprehending those responsible to hold them accountable and recovering stolen property.
Included in the special awards ceremony, six members of the North Carolina General Assembly were recognized as CORCA’s 2023 Legislative Champions for their bipartisan effort to include in the North Carolina Budget, that is now law, eight new positions with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations to assist and engage in ORC investigations at the request of local law enforcement. The North Carolina legislature is still working toward adjournment of the 2023 session which, unfortunately, prevented the award winners from attending in person. The award recipients recognized from the North Carolina Senate were Danny Britt (R- Robeson, Hoke, Scotland) and Warren Daniel (R- Burke, McDowell, Buncombe). Award recipients recognized from the North Carolina House of Representatives were Charles Miller (R-Brunswick, New Hanover), Carson Smith (R-Pender, Onslow), Ted Davis (R-New Hanover) and Dudley Greene (R-McDowell, Avery, Mitchell, Yancey).
During breaks from the educational sessions and award presentations, attendees visited exhibits by vendors. Vendor company representatives explained and demonstrated some of the newest product innovations, services, and educational resources to assist retailers and law enforcement in preventing organized retail crime as well as apprehending offenders.
Stay tuned for the announcement coming soon for the 2024 CORCA Conference. Visit www.corca.org to find out more details.