Many of you may not be aware of the situation our police department is in. If you read the May 28 Roundup about the upcoming budget, you'd have noticed that "our council" has rejected the hiring of five additional police officers and a police sergeant, two of three "priority" items in the draft budget.
How can we NOT support one of the most vital services of our community? Yes, we see that the crime rate has gone down -- wouldn't you like to keep it that way? We need to keep one step in front of it and not fall behind. Our town continues to grow. Shouldn't our police force be able to keep up with it?
How many of you know that most evenings and nights, there are only two or three officers and a sergeant on duty? How many of you have asked how many officers should respond to a domestic violence disturbance, a fight in progress, a man with a gun, or a burglary alarm sounding? Definitely more than one! What happens when you get more than one of those calls at one time? Call the Sheriff's office or DPS? Sure, but they're not always available. Sending ONE officer to handle such a situation is NOT THE WISE THING TO DO!
We need to make sure as a community that OUR officers work in the safest conditions possible. It only makes sense that overall it would make it safer for our community.
Law enforcement personnel also deal with having to work all those odd shifts: evenings, graveyards, weekends, holidays. Yes, they choose that line of work, and for that we should be grateful to them. Who would be there for you in an emergency if they didn't? But why make it any harder than it is already?
They're human beings who get sick (need to find someone to cover), they have family emergencies to tend to (need to find someone to cover), they become injured on the job (need someone to cover), and then there's mandatory training (need to find someone to cover).
And what about their families ... have you talked with any of us? We look forward to those days off! But the phone rings or the pager goes off, someone is sick or injured (they need someone to cover), there's an emergency in town (we need more manpower). What about the plans that have been made with the spouses and children?
The holidays ... well, you can just imagine that! Yes, it's part of the job and that's accepted, but just how much do they have to take, or have they take physically and emotionally? It's time to get some help!
Like I said before, officers are human beings, they run out of energy, they get sick when overworked. Please help us voice our concerns to our Town Council. Think of what could happen to our quality of life. We do not want another officer killed in the line of duty.
Call "your" Town council members and let them know how you feel at Payson Town Hall, 474-5242: Mayor Vern Stiffler, ext. 222; Jim Spencer, ext. 201; Jack Monschein, ext. 202; Hoby Herron, ext. 203 ; Ken Murphy, ext. 204; Barbara Brewer, ext. 205; Ray Schum, ext. 206.
An officer's wife, concerned citizen, and Payson PD Communications Supervisor