For 20 years, Lani Aughenbaugh was a regular fixture in Ocean Beach, serving on the OBPD from 1984 through 2004. Dedicated to a career in law enforcement, the longtime Smithtown resident also had served with the Suffolk Country Parks Departments Police, as well as a chief of the K-9 Unit with the Department of Veteran Affairs Hospital in Northport. A serious motor vehicle accident in 2004 left Aughenbaugh with devastating injuries that prompted his early retirement. This compounded with other health issues ultimately led to his decline and passing on July 3, 2019, at the age of 70.
However those who knew Lani well understood he was a force larger than life – as well as his injuries. Having taken night courses at School of Visual Arts as a younger man, he took advantage of the last 15 years to further develop his artistic interests. He stayed connected to Fire Island through social media, where he was often a vocal force to be reckoned with. During his time with the OBPD, Lani always kept a simple point and shoot camera by his side to take snapshots of the Fire Island scenery. In 2014, a number of his photographs were included in a book authored by this writer, two of which the publishing editors deemed fit to make the cover.
Lani is survived by his wife, Deborah; his children, Eric and Jennifer; as well as his sisters, Darlene Lopez and Loretta Young.
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