Local police chief reflects on Orlando incident

Stephanie IvankovichEditorsivankovich@theperrychief.com

The nation mourned following a shooting at an Orlando nightclub that killed 49 people last weekend.

It’s hard to fathom.

That’s what Perry police chief Eric Vaughn said regarding the incident.

“It’s hard to fathom the scope of what occurred,” he said. “I feel for the people that were involved from the victims to their families and the people that responded and had to witness that tragedy.”

Vaughn said he wishes he knew the answer on how to try and stop incidents like that.

“I really don’t (know the answer),” Vaughn said. “I think it is a matter of gathering information, talking to people, being open about conversations about people and their actions. (By telling someone about) things they see that may lead to something like this, by telling someone, it could lead to preventing something like this.”

And these incidents keep moving, he continued.

“We are moving from large metropolitan areas, you used to see it overseas, then New York, Boston, now Orlando,” he said. “Even with, whatever you want to call it - terrorism within the United States or active shooters - I think it’s going to continue to spread until we come together on several levels and figure out how we can put a stop to it.”

Vaughn told the Perry Chief that even though the incident in Orlando was extreme, an active shooter, school violence or violence in the workplace, could happen anywhere.

“We need to try and be as prepared as we can with those,” Vaughn said.

In some schools and local businesses, the Perry Police Department told students and staff to be aware report things that seem out of the ordinary, he said.

“We always talk about intuition,” Vaughn said. “If something doesn’t seem right check into it or follow up. Report something if you hear something like someone is disgruntled or if someone has been making some kind of threats to someone or a business.”

The police chief said businesses are becoming more aware of incidents that could take place. Even with large local gatherings, the police department thinks about what could take place.

“The last time we had RAGBRAI here in Perry, right before that, was the Boston Marathon incident,” Vaughn said. “When we are preparing for that we think, could that happen here? It’s a bike ride, but you have 10 to 15,000 people. When you have a concert or a camp ground area, those things can happen and we try to take precautions.”

It’s something everyone should be aware of, he added.

“Be aware of suspicious things, suspicious packages that are left in certain spots, in areas like that,” Vaughn said. “Let people know if you see things like that.”