Police Volunteers Give Gift Of Time

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Three men have put in more than 1,000 hours working for the Payson Payson Police Department --nd it didn't cost the taxpayers a dime.

The police department has a corps of 50 volunteers. Three of them have donated more than 1,000 hours each since taking the first class for volunteers in October 2002: Tom Brown, Harold Bruns and Randy Calhoun.

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Payson Police volunteers (from left) Harold Bruns, Randy Calhoun and Tom Brown have all contributed more than 1,000 hours to the department since participating in the first class of volunteers. The rug is another big donation to the department, given by Dennis Yoder at J& J Linen several months ago.

Brown has given the police department about 1,100 hours; Bruns has about 1,050 under his belt; and Calhoun has donated about 1,062 hours, "But I did it first (give 1,000 hours)," he joked.

Brown and Bruns are both retired and said the police volunteer program seemed like something that would keep them busy. Neither has been disappointed.

Brown is retired from the U.S. Marine Corps.

"I wanted to get involved in my community," he said. "I couldn't before (where I lived in California). I wanted to put something back into the community. I have thoroughly enjoyed it."

"I was wanting something to do -- to keep me busy, and they're doing a really good job," Bruns, who retired from General Motors, said.

Calhoun is a computer technician for Payson Regional Medical Center and used to work with the town.

"That's how I became associated with the police department," he said. "I did ride-alongs back then, and until I did that, I didn't realize what police do. It's a way to give back to the community and it's also a great way to relieve the stress from my day job."

Accounting for his 1,050-plus hours, Bruns said, "It is so diverse. There are so many things you're doing. Time passes."

"We do just about everything but chase people and give tickets," Bruns said, though the volunteers can write tickets for handicap parking violations. And while the volunteers do a great deal, the officers keep them out of harm's way, Bruns said.

The initial training for volunteers is covered in six classes, each about four hours long, but additional training is ongoing. "We had excellent training from our instructors, including Lt. Don Engler," Bruns said.

To facilitate their work, the volunteers have three regular police vehicles assigned to them. The only difference is they are equipped with yellow lights, not the full emergency lights the patrol vehicles have.

Asked about the most memorable experiences they have had while serving as police volunteers, Bruns said for him it was working with a DUI task force near Roosevelt Lake during the Fourth of July holiday.

"It was really interesting to see how the officers work," he said.

Calhoun said it has all been interesting, but the things that stand out in his mind from his 1,062 hours are the times he has worked crime scene security, especially on a couple of homicides and at a meth lab. He said being at the scene of a homicide, "makes you think of life, death and afterlife."

At the meth lab, he saw all the chemicals that are used and was amazed to realize how dangerous they really are.

For Bruns, the most aggravating part of the job is the people who don't use the turn signals on their vehicles.

"It has made me more conscious of the traffic laws. And I am amazed that everybody else is not as aware of them. It's rewarding to help the public and accomplish something. And the officers appreciate us," Calhoun said.

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