When we arrived at the shooting scene of Officer Allen Dyer Saturday afternoon at Wal-Mart, we milled through the crowd while assessing the situation. A man armed with anger and a gun fired at least three shots into the chest and abdomen of one of Payson's finest.
We heard many of you comment on how the horrors of the big city seem to be invading our small town. We heard many of you say, "This isn't the Payson I used to know and love."
We even heard a few of you question the security of the Payson residents when one of its officers can be gunned down in broad daylight.
But, there's a larger, more optimistic picture here.
While the Payson population has continued to grow, our crime rate has steadily declined. While our police force continues to struggle against an over-burdened budget, our men and women in uniform continue to benefit from top-rate training programs.
In fact, it was this commitment to excellence and embrace of the latest technologies that attracted Officer Dyer to the Rim country.
It was Dyer's commitment to public safety that allowed the shoppers who were in front of Wal-Mart that day to walk away a little scared, but very much alive. To dismiss Saturday's tragic shooting with a shake of the head saying, "This ain't Payson anymore" is to downplay that commitment of these dedicated men and women who patrol our streets.
We salute our police, fire and emergency medical teams. Their quick response and professional attitudes helped save a man's life, apprehend a suspect, and control what could have been a much more tragic event.
Thank you for serving our community well.