Brian Havey had wanted to be a law enforcement officer all his life, but he came to the Gila County Sheriff's Department in a very roundabout way.
The detective started working with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, thinking he would eventually work his way up to game warden. He was assigned to the Canyon Creek Fish Hatchery when he and game and fish parted ways in 1983.
Havey then went to work for Gila County on the road crew and stayed on that job for nine years.
Then the opportunity to attend a police academy in Payson came up.
"I had always wanted to be a police officer, so I decided to attend it," he said.
Havey finished the academy in 1990 and earned his law enforcement certification and went to work for the Gila County Sheriff's Department.
First he worked at Roosevelt Lake for five to six years, then was transferred to Payson, where he was assigned to patrol.
Havey tested for criminal investigations and became a detective in 2000.
Asked about the most rewarding cases he has dealt with, Havey is quick to answer, "The Collins (child molestation) case. It was the icing on the cake of all cases."
The case involved a Mesa del Caballo senior citizen accused of molesting a five-year-old girl. The trial was the first to use video testimony from the victim and resulted in a conviction.
"The Mikiyo Yonemura case was very interesting," he added.
"I've worked hundreds of burglaries. I can't stand burglars. I will go to the ends of the earth to catch them.
"I don't like burglars. Period," Havey said.
As one of two detectives in the Payson substation of the sheriff's department, Havey and his partner, George Ratliff, must investigate everything from dog bites to murder.
"It's a job that demands teamwork within the department and other agencies. And our teamwork is set at a very high standard," he said.
Havey said the most challenging part of his job is getting the people he serves to make an effort to take care of their belongings.
"People need to realize the importance of keeping their property secure by having serial numbers on it, and knowing what those numbers are. Without serial numbers, it makes recovering stolen property 100 times as hard," Havey said.
By way of example, Havey has two guns in evidence.
One was found in a stock pond and another is a custom-made $3,500 gun that looks more like a wood sculpture than a weapon, recovered in a raid on a drug house.
Both have serial numbers, but the people who are claiming them don't have a record of their serial numbers.
The man who is claiming the gun in the stock pond only knows it had a custom firing pin made for it. So the gun must be broken down and the pin examined before the gun can be returned.
As for the $3,500 gun, the insurance has already been paid on it, so it must be decided if it belongs to the insurance company or the person from whom it was stolen.
When Havey is not on the job, his greatest pleasure is hunting, and right now he is looking forward to a bear hunt in Alaska -- his favorite vacation spot -- in August.
He also is a man of many talents. Havey is proud to have built his own home in Payson.
"I looked around and seeing the prices being asked, I decided to build my own house the way I wanted it for the price I wanted."
He had worked some in construction, so he had the skills.
" I bought a plan and built it for $89,000, including the land. It is now valued at $220,000," he said.
Name: Brian Havey
Employer: Gila County Sheriff's Office
Family: Wife, Patrice; son, Matthew; parents, Shirley and Charles Havey.
Personal motto: I never give up.
Inspiration: My high school football coach, Jim Fernandez. He taught me more than anyone about toughness, relentless pursuit, never giving up and doing all you can do to do your job right.
Greatest feat: 20 years of service with Gila County.
My favorite hobby or leisure activity is hunting.
I don't want to brag, but I built my own home in eight months.
The person in history I'd most like to meet is my uncle, John Havey. He was a pilot in England in World War II and was killed before I was born.
Luxury defined: Elk camp.
Dream vacation spot: Alaska. The capital, Juneau, is the most beautiful place on earth I've ever been to.
Why Payson? I was working for Arizona Game and Fish at the Canyon Creek Fish Hatchery and met my wife in Forest Lakes. After leaving the fish hatchery, we first lived in Gisela and eventually built a home here, so I guess choosing Payson was job related.