NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Those who knew Ofc. Daniel Vasquez will tell you becoming a police officer was his dream come true.
He looked for every opportunity to get some real-life experience so he could be ready once he earned his badge.
Before Vasquez took the oath to protect and the serve the citizens of North Kansas City, he began his life's mission south of the river in Northeast Kansas City.
“He wanted to help people and he wanted to do it in a way that meant something, he wanted very much to be a resource to a community, and he was that for us,” Bobbi Baker-Hughes, president and CEO of the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, said.
Baker-Hughes hired Vasquez in 2017 as one of her "Avenue Angels," a group of Titan Security officers who work to keep the Independence Avenue corridor safe.
“He was able to talk anybody anywhere, and make things happen in a very positive manner,” Baker-Hughes said.
Vasquez's de-escalation abilities didn't go unnoticed.
He received an award from his employer after helping police arrest a man who had several outstanding warrants, including one for attempted murder.
Vasquez told the Northeast News, a local news paper, he was trying to join the police department.
“As he got closer to being able to get into the academy, we were we were there, as was Titan, you know, giving him the confidence," Baker-Hughes said. "And the claps on the back as to what he needed, because we knew that he was going to be a great police officer."
In Jan. 2021, the North Kansas City Police Department welcomed Vasquez as one of its newest police recruits.
That July, the city announced his graduation from the police academy.
“He was a shining star in our department," NKC Chief of Police Kevin Freeman said. "He was easy to talk to, he didn't have an enemy. Everybody was his friend."
At 32-years-old, Vasquez became the first North Kansas City police officer to lose their life in the line of duty.
“He was doing what he wanted to do. He'd made it. It made it and today ended that," Baker-Hughes said.
The Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police has set up a donation portal to help raise funds for the Vasquez family.