LARGO — In July 2017, Vu Tran took over the role of crime prevention officer for the Largo Police Department — a role he embraces.
Tran has a new title, however, and he’s not quite sure what to say when he hears it: Officer of the Year.
“I don’t know how to respond to it,” Tran said modestly.
Tran was presented with the award earlier this month by the Tampa Bay Area Chiefs of Police Foundation.
“I was very surprised but ultimately I was very honored to receive the award,” said Tran, who added he didn’t even know his sergeant had nominated him until he was told he won.
According to a video created by the foundation, Tran was honored for his many community liaison efforts, including organizing neighborhood watch meetings, working with Largo High School students to create crime prevention videos and conducting numerous active-shooter response training sessions at schools, churches and businesses.
Tran was born in Vietnam. His father fled the country in the 1980s, and soon he, his mother and older brother followed, settling in California.
He moved to Pinellas County in 1997 and graduated from Largo High School with the goal of becoming a police officer.
“To me, it’s definitely the American dream,” he said. “I’m able to do things that I really like to do. I wanted to be a police officer when I was in high school. That’s what I wanted and I followed my path and followed my career and stuck with it.”