COURTHOUSE – The First Precinct Citizens Advisory Committee recognized Sgt. Ryan Jason as supervisor of the year and Master Police Officer Preston Vaughan as officer of the year for 2016 during the committee’s meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
It was the second accolade this month for Vaughan, who was recognized by a local American Legion chapter as officer of the year for the city.
Additionally, the Princess Anne High School graduate earned recognition as an officer of the quarter in 2015 for work in Princess Anne Plaza, where he has continued to work with members of the neighborhood as a community oriented police officer.
In 2015, Vaughan worked in neighborhoods near Daytona Drive following a string of shootings in the area and helped bring about arrests and recovery of weapons and drugs. His efforts continued in the community in 2016.
Capt. David Squires, commanding officer of the First Precinct, said Vaughan made 29 arrests, issued 90 summonses and conducted 18 field interviews – as well as being involved in seven felony cases.
But Squires said he also has made an impact by building strong ties with people in the community.
“It’s kind of overwhelming,” Vaughan said in an interview. “It’s nice to get the recognition. I just feel I’m out there doing my job.”
Vaughan worked over the summer with Out of the Box Ministries, participating in a march calling upon the community to reduce violence, Squires said.
The head of the street ministry, known as Pastor T, has facilitated dialogue between the police and members of the community, including amid national attention about violence by and against law enforcement.
Vaughan, in a video from a question and answer session in the community, addressed topics such as interacting with police.
He urged engaging in a continued conversation together.
“Come talk to us,” he said in the video from last summer.
In an interview, Vaughan said those relationships, exemplified by efforts to join with Pastor T and other citizens, are part of success in the community.
“It’s nice to see the hard work pay off,” Vaughan said.
Jason began serving with the department in 2002, and he was promoted to sergeant this past year. In his new role as a patrol sergeant on the midnight shift, Squires said Jason earned respect of his peers, who selected him for the award.
“He has made a big impact early in his career because he is really good at what he does,” Squires said during an interview.
“He brought a spirit of motivation and focus,” Squires added. “He helped the midnight squad with a variety of challenges. He maintains a very positive attitude and is willing to mentor people in almost any context. … He’s leading from the front.”
Jason previously worked in special investigations, among other assignments, and he developed an expertise in computer forensics, obtaining evidence for a variety of cases.
In an interview, Jason said he was grateful for the award, but he added that it reflected the efforts of his fellow law enforcement officers, too.
“A leader is nothing without their people,” the sergeant said.
Jason, a Massachusetts native, worked in patrol and community policing in Kempsville and as a detective in the vice squad. He worked in computer crimes, developing technical skills to help crack sensitive child pornography and exploitation cases.
“It allows me to take my investigative experience from special investigations … and I can apply it to the guys who want to do investigation,” he said, speaking of his experience.
Jason said he prefers to offer guidance when it is desired, and he credited colleagues with helping to make the transition to a supervisory role work, including an officer from his academy days.
“I like to be able to make a difference, make an impact,” he said, adding that he tries to help the midnight personnel make a “bigger and better impact” collectively.
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