The first annual ARA Insurance Services/National Equipment Register Award (AIS/NER Award) was presented last week at the Rental Show to Detective Daniel Pearson of the Tarrant Regional Auto Theft Task Force in Texas.
The award recognizes a law enforcement officer or agent who has “performed exceptional services to the rental industry through the recovery of rental equipment or through theft prevention initiatives” in each award year. The award was established in 2004 as part of the partnership between the American Rental Association and the National Equipment Register, a partnership central to ARA’s efforts to help their members combat the serious problem of equipment theft in the rental industry. The AIS/NER Award is cosponsored by the American Rental Association, ARA Insurance Services (AIS) and the National Equipment Register.
Detective Daniel Pearson attended the Rental Show as a VIP guest and was presented with a plaque at the awards luncheon by David Shillingford, president of NER. As part of the award a grant of $1,000 was made to Detective Pearson’s unit to support equipment investigations.
Since being assigned to the Tarrant County Regional Auto Theft Task Force from the Haltom City, Texas, police department Detective Pearson has taken exceptional steps to combat equipment theft. In early 2002 Detective Pearson and his task force partner at the time, Pat McGrail, started the process of self-education in the specialized task of equipment identification. Part of this was achieved through contacting area rental stores and inspecting their inventory. Within a short period of time local rental companies who had suffered thefts and had heard of the detectives’ interest were calling them. This led to a meeting with the Texas Rental Association and an invitation to speak at the annual TRA conference to teach TRA members about equipment theft prevention. The success of this class led to repeat classes in 2003 and 2004. Through his relationship with the TRA, Detective Pearson was able to secure donations totaling $30,000 to fund overtime during which additional heavy equipment investigations were carried out. Detective Pearson has also been providing equipment identification training to other law enforcement agencies in his area and raising the level of awareness of this growing problem.
Between February 2003 and September 2004 Detective Pearson was responsible for the recovery of 48 machines with a value of nearly $1.2 million, much of it rental equipment. Detective Pearson’s efforts have led to the identification of 39 suspects of whom 15 were arrested and charged, an important part of reducing and deterring theft in this area.
The ARA and NER further demonstrated their commitment to helping law enforcement combat equipment theft by hosting 50 police officers from Nevada and surrounding states at the conference. The officers attended an equipment identification class presented by NER’s senior analyst, David Mossman, and then had a chance to visit some of the 750 equipment exhibits after the exhibit hall had closed for the day for hands-on training in the identification of newer equipment models.