by Richard Haddad
When a local police officer was shot at point-blank range, the true colors of our men and women in blue shined through.
Their bravery and dedication was recognized Wednesday night during the Payson Police Department's first awards banquet. Presented by the Rim Country Rotary Club, the banquet was held at the Mazatzal Casino and featured two special presentations.
Officer Allen Dyer and 911 dispatch operator Kimberly Werner received awards for uncommon valor and outstanding job performance.
On Oct. 30, 1999, Officer Dyer was protecting residents from an armed man outside the Payson Wal-Mart store when he received multiple gunshot wounds from the suspect's 44-caliber Magnum handgun. As the tragedy unfolded, Werner maintained vital communications with the response teams from the dispatch center as they searched for the shooter and worked to save officer Dyer's life.
Both individuals were nominated for the awards by their peers within the police department.
Chief Gordon Gartner shared some of the comments his staff submitted: "The day that Allen was shot, his only concern was that the innocent people at Wal-Mart be protected from the person who shot him." Gartner read, "After the shooting, as he was being taken care of at the hospital, his only concern was that no one else was injured by this man."
Werner was praised for her eagerness to assist the officers and the manner in which she performed her duties during the October shooting.
"She maintained a professional demeanor during probably the most stressful situation that could happen," Gartner said.
Local Wal-Mart Store Manager Becky Martinez thanked Dyer and the entire staff at the police department for their commitment to serve and protect the citizens of Payson.
"We have so many good people at the Payson Police Department," Dyer said. "It's a real honor to work with them and to receive this award."