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The Ohio State Highway Patrols Blue Max program is an incentive recognition system which rewards troopers who recover stolen vehicles with on-the-spot suspect apprehension by presenting lightning bolt decals for display on their patrol cars. Five stolen vehicle recoveries with on-the-spot suspect apprehensions in one calendar year earn the ACE Award, with the officer recovering the most stolen vehicles designated as the 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.
Since its inception in 1972 through 2013, the Blue Max program has produced over 899 ACEs.
But the Blue Max program offers much more than 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.
The Highway Patrol conducts several auto larceny courses every year at its 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.
This successful program has been emulated by many law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. Since the programs inception in 1972, it has played an important role in helping Ohio maintain a vehicle theft rate well below the national average. From program inception through the end of 2023, troopers recovered 46, 828 stolen vehicles valued at $236,573,041.00.