FBI Terrorism Task Force officer asks for community involvement

A Little Rock police officer who is a member of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force said Tuesday the goal of the task force is to ensure that events like 9-11 don’t happen again.

William T. Vaughn was one of the speakers at the monthly Coffee with the Chiefs program, sponsored by Interested Citizens for Voter Registration and held at Allen Temple AME Church.

“Those guys didn’t just wake up one day and decide they wanted to fly planes into buildings,” Vaughn said. “They started planning years ago and the thing is, they didn’t advertise their plans so people didn’t know about them until it was too late.”

Vaughn, who has been with the Little Rock Police Department for 27 years and said he is the only full-time task force investigator in the office, said the work of the task force can start “with something as simple as a phone call” from a person reporting something they think is suspicious.

“We take calls like that daily,” he said, comparing the work of the task force to investigating a homicide, except that unlike homicides, there are no bodies that can provide leads.

“We need the help of the community,” Vaughn said. “We need them to be involved.

“That’s why we’re here,” he said. “So that there can be no more excuses.”

He also said he had spent a lot of time in Pine Bluff following up on information from the public, “information we didn’t have in ongoing investigations.”

Also speaking during the program was FBI Community Outreach Specialist Maria Hoskins, who explained her role in programs the agency sponsors in the community.

Hoskins said those programs include youth and child safety programs, including child fingerprinting, as well as the Citizen’s FBI Academy, an eight-week course that meets one night a week and focuses on the various duties and responsibilities of the FBI.

Coffee with the Chiefs is a program that brings together law enforcement, fire department and city officials with clergy and members of the community.