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Chief Roy Vasque and the Command Staff have selected Detective Angel Lopez and Detective Charles Saindon as the 2019 Lawrence Exchange Club’s Police Officer of the Year. In 2019, there were 164 stolen motor vehicles in the City of Lawrence, which represents a 26 % decrease from 2018 and a 60% decrease from 2017. The 2019 total represents the best year in over 20 years. Although the fight against auto theft is certainly a department wide effort, there is no doubt that the skillful investigative techniques of these detectives played a major role. In 2015, the year before Detectives Lopez and Saindon were appointed to the Auto Theft Unit, there were 648 vehicles stolen from Lawrence. The 2019 total of 164 represents a 75% reduction during their tenure. Furthermore, in the year 2000 1,786 motor vehicle thefts reported. The City of Lawrence, at one time, was known as the “stolen car capital of the world” and garnered national attention for insurance fraud. The number of stolen motor vehicles has decreased by 91% since 2000.
It is no coincidence that these crimes have been so drastically reduced. Detectives Lopez and Saindon are completely dedicated, working many extra hours, or, at times, changing their hours to effectively conduct their investigations. Through countless hours of intelligence gathering, including fingerprinting, surveillance, and regional information sharing, Detectives Lopez and Saindon were able to identify the key target areas and the key suspects to bring successful prosecutions. These prosecutions have taken habitual offenders off the streets which has led to the reductions we are currently experiencing.
The efforts of Detective Angel Lopez and Detective Charles Saindon are in accordance with the finest traditions of the Lawrence Police Department, and the Department is proud to award them with this year’s Lawrence Exchange Club Police Officer of the Year Award.