The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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February 21, 2010

Trooper Klingensmith gets top cop award for most stolen vehicles

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Jared Klingensmith has his eyes on more than just the road.

Klingensmith has earned the prestigious Blue Max Award, the state patrol’s top honor for recovering the most stolen vehicles. In 2009, Klingensmith recovered 14 stolen vehicles, valued at $84,595, resulting in the apprehension of eight suspects, as some suspects stole several cars.

The OHP Blue Max program rewards troopers who recover stolen vehicles with on-the-spot suspect apprehension. The troopers earn lightning bolt decals for their patrol cars for every recovered vehicle. The troopers earn the ACE Award for every five stolen vehicle recoveries with on-the-spot suspect apprehensions. The trooper with the most ACE awards is the state’s Blue Max winner.

Each ACE Award winner receives a certificate, special ACE license plates for display on the patrol car, and a uniform ribbon. The Blue Max winner receives a certificate, the Blue Max medal, Blue Max license plates, a uniform ribbon, a Superintendents Citation of Merit, and exclusive use of a patrol car for a year.

From 1972 through 2007, the Blue Max program has awarded more than 747 ACE awards, OHP reports.

OHP officials say the Blue Max program offers more than just incentives.

“Officer safety is supported with state-of-the-art communications and computers, supplying instant access to vehicle ownership and theft data from anywhere in the country,” OHP Lt. Mike Harmon said.

The highway patrol offers auto larceny courses every year at the training academy to maintain a high level of vehicle theft and enforcement knowledge among its officers. ACE and Blue Max winners are used as guest instructors during these courses to share their knowledge and experience in auto recovery and suspect apprehension.

Harmon said Klingensmith’s personality helped him win the Blue Max Award.

“Jared really has a way of talking to people, getting them to open up,” Harmon said. “His arrests were of suspects with two or three or more cars stolen. He would catch a suspect on a traffic stop and get them talking and find out they had another stolen car or two.”

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