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What Reserve Deputy Vaughan can teach you about off duty carry

Deputy Mark Vaughan is a card-carrying sheepdog who saved Traci Johnson’s life by shooting someone who was actively trying to kill her

The name Colleen Hufford may not mean anything to most people. For whatever reason, this story disappeared from the mainstream news pretty quickly — perhaps because it didn’t involve naked celebrities or a LEO shooting a gang banger. But officers across the country remember well the incident in which a recently suspended worker at a Vaughan Foods processing plant came from behind the 54-year-old Hufford with a large knife that he brought from home, and sliced her head off.

But before he could do the same to 43-year-old Traci Johnson, the company’s chief operating officer — Mark Vaughan — shot him, stopping the attack. Officers remember that Vaughan is a reserve deputy who has been involved with the Oklahoma County sheriff’s office since 2010. Deputy Vaughan is a card-carrying sheepdog. As a law enforcement officer, he is allowed to carry a gun when off duty.

How many reserve officers carry off duty, and further, how many are even allowed to carry at their day job at all?

Stopping the Threat
If the company’s COO hadn’t shot the murderer, the killings would have continued. Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel agreed, saying “There is every reason to believe that the lives of untold others were saved who would have been targeted by the suspect if it hadn’t been for Deputy Vaughan’s actions.”

The September 24, 2014 incident apparently was triggered when the murderer was suspended after Johnson initiated a complaint against him. Police records show that he had a history of violence. He was convicted in January 2011 of multiple felony drug offenses, assault and battery on a police officer, and escape from detention.

Because of the way that Hufford was murdered, the local police called in the FBI to assist in the investigation.

Dawn Perlmutter, director of the Symbol Intelligence Group wrote up an analysis of the actual event and believes that this was not an act of workplace violence but is a textbook case of Individual Extremist Religion Inspired Homicide.

Questioning Company Policy
The point is that Deputy Vaughan saved Traci Johnson’s life by shooting someone actively trying to kill her. How many reserve or retired peace officers work at some organization, but cannot carry due to company policy? Is there a specific reason for that policy or is it because the sheep in the executive office is afraid of guns?

People like you and Deputy Vaughan have the mindset and the training to be sheepdogs and you should be offered every opportunity to protect you coworkers by being allowed to carry while at work.

Would your off-duty organization’s firearms policy have prevented someone like Deputy Vaughan from protecting other employees from a murderer? Will you be able to protect your sheep against wolves like the one that murdered Colleen Hufford?

If an organization that you work for says that you cannot carry off duty, do the execs realize that they won’t have any sheepdogs guarding their flock when “that day” happens?

Ron LaPedis is an NRA-certified Chief Range Safety Officer, NRA, USCCA and California DOJ-certified instructor, is a uniformed first responder, and frequently writes and speaks on law enforcement, business continuity, cybersecurity, physical security and public/private partnerships.