COURTHOUSE – City police Officer Preston Vaughan, a former automative mechanic who became hooked on police work after going on a ridealong in one of the communities he now protects, is the officer of the quarter in the First Precinct.
Vaughan, 29, was recognized during the First Precinct Citizens’ Advisory Committee Meeting on Tuesday, May 5, at the municipal center. Police Capt. David Squires, commanding officer of the precinct, said Vaughan earned the honor following his efforts to address a string of crimes in the Daytona Drive area earlier this year.
“I just wanted to help people,” Vaughan said before the meeting, during an interview in which he discussed joining the department.
During the ride along with a friend on the force, he said he witnessed “taking somebody who was in crisis and taking them back to not being in crisis.”
It was a powerful display of the difference a police officer can make in the life of an individual citizen.
Vaughan was nominated by Sgt. Jason Mineham of the First Precinct’s Community Oriented Policing team. Vaughan is a member.
In that role, Vaughan said, “we get to go out and make positive community contacts.” That includes outreach to youth, be it a foot race or a basketball game. The goal is to “just really give them someone to look up to, something to look forward to,” he said. “They happen to beat me in basketball, if that’s relevant.”
Given the challenges modern law enforcement faces regarding perceptions, he said it was valuable to reinforce relationships.
Squires said Vaughan worked with the community in neighborhoods near Daytona Drive following a string of shootings in the area.
“Preston led the community policing effort to address these problems,” Squires said, including outreach to residents and landlords.
“He got to know them,” the captain added during the advisory committee meeting. “He got to know their concerns.”
An investigation led to the execution of a search warrant and the recovery of firearms and marijuana, Squires said. “Preston led this effort that resulted in recovery of the weapons and a whole lot of drugs.”
Additionally, there have been no shooting since the investigation. “That’s the ultimate good result,” Squires said.
Vaughan and officers met with community members after the investigation, as well.