This year, the 6th annual Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail (C.L.E.A.R.) conference was held at the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards on October 12th through October 15th. With nearly 200 attendees split almost 50/50 between law enforcement officials and loss prevention practitioners, this was our biggest and best event thus far. The conference offered exceptional learning opportunities and powerful discussions on loss prevention strategies that proved to be valuable experiences for all that attended. Thanks to all the attendees who helped make this year’s law enforcement and loss prevention conference partnership a tremendous success.
The conference began in typical fashion with the CLEAR awards for Retail Loss Prevention Investigator of the year as well as the Law Enforcement Investigator of the year. These awards are presented based on submissions from the loss prevention industry and law enforcement community to honor those that have shown outstanding service. The CLEAR Board of Directors then chooses the final recipients following in-depth review and discussion. Our choices once again proved to be challenging, this several deserving candidates to choose from.
This year, the Loss Prevention Investigator of the Year was awarded to Beau Lachance from The Home Depot. Beau, an Asset Protection Specialist for The Home Depot in Southern Idaho, was instrumental in detecting and apprehending multiple organized retail crime groups traveling throughout the state of Idaho. From January to August 2015, Beau alerted law enforcement to five separate traveling credit card fraud groups consisting of 12 known perpetrators. These groups were responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent purchases and close to 600 counterfeit credit cards were recovered.
The Law Enforcement Investigator of the Year was awarded to Mike Mauldin of the Special Crimes Bureau in Major Offenders Division and the Organized Crime Division/Identity Theft Section of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Texas. Mike was chosen from a field of 5 talented and hard working submissions based upon his extensive work with Investigators from Kroger, T-Mobile, and other retailers to resolve numerous ID theft, bad check, forgery, and fraud cases.
Congratulations to both of our winners!
Sessions included 16 different law enforcement and loss prevention conference presentations over the 2½ day event. As always, there was a wide range of topics that would appeal to both retail loss prevention and law enforcement professionals.
Tuesday’s conference session started off with a presentation on mobile surveillance by Det. Edgar Whyte from LPAPD. This was followed by statements and a case study presented by Dave Zulawski from Wicklander-Zulawski. Vance Gilbert then presented on how to build an ORC investigations team, which was followed by a presentation on Civil Unrest Preparation and Retail Business Recovery by Col. Melissa Hyatt of the Baltimore PD, Jon Grander of Caleres Shoe Co., Dave Cohen from Walgreens and Millie Kresevich from Luxottica Retail. The day wrapped up with legislative updates presented by Millie Kresevich from Luxottica Retail.
Wednesday’s presentations started off with an overview and discussions on the national organized retail crime problem, which was proceeded by Gene Smith presenting a session on the Loss Prevention Foundation. We then rolled into a presentation on gift card fraud offered by Chris Guerra and then a Rental Car security group session with Jake Annable from Enterprise and Dennis Letts from Avis. The final presentation of the day was offered by Scott Guginsky from the Jewelers Security Alliance. We wrapped up the day with a reception at the Sports Legends Museum at Camden yards.
The final day included a presentation by Mark Youngblood, Michael Keller, and Matt Callahan from the US Secret Service, a gift card fraud presentation by Scott Sanford from Barnes and Noble and a presentation on Jewelry store robberies by Mark Neapolitan from Signet Jewelers.
A great big thanks to all of our vendor partners who help make it all possible. As always, one of the biggest benefits was the networking among peers, and between LP and Law Enforcement.
The Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail was formed in November 2008 by a group of Law Enforcement and Retail Loss Prevention professionals that saw the need for the formation of a partnership. The goal is to encourage mutual cooperation between all law enforcement agencies and retail corporations throughout the United States toward the goal of detection, prevention, and investigation of property crimes and the apprehension of the perpetrators.
For additional information, please go to the CLEAR website at http://www.clearusa.org/
Next year, we’ll be back in Reno, Nevada from October 24th through the 27th at the Silver Legacy Resort. We hope to see everyone there!!!!!