Chris Harold has been in Payson most of his life. He graduated from Payson High School in 1994.
After getting his college degree in teaching, he returned to Payson to do his student teaching. That experience made him decide education was not the career he wanted.
"I was looking for something exciting and different and would let me work with people. I like to work outside, so this was the happy medium," he said of his law enforcement career.
It is a line of work already tread by the Harold family. Chris' grandfather was a deputy sheriff with Yuma County. He died when Chris was only 6. "We were really close," the new Payson police officer said.
He said he also has a couple of friends in law enforcement.
First he went through almost 18 months of waiting to join the Department of Public Safety, but in the end they parted ways. Then when the Payson Police Department started advertising for officers late last fall, he applied and was hired as a recruit this January. Harold completed his academy training May 16 and is currently in field training with Officer Billy Hoffman. He finishes field training the first week of September.
With his training continuing all these months, he laughed and said he sometimes finds himself second guessing this latest venture in his working life.
Harold's parents, Shirley and Harley Harold, still make their home in Payson, while his brother, Dale lives in Phoenix. During the 18 months Harold waited for the DPS to make its decision about his future, he worked with his father, who is a masonry contractor.
"It has always been my goal to live in Payson. The cost of living is tough, but I like the area's central location. It's not too far from the cold and not too far from the heat," he said. In time, Harold wants to live in town. Currently he commutes.
Name: Chris Harold
Occupation: Police officer
Employer: Town of Payson Police Department
Family: Wife, Tiffany; Ashley, 8; Dalton, almost 2; third child due in October; parents, Shirley and Harley Harold; brother, Dale.
Personal motto: Be the best that you can be.
Inspiration: My family.
Greatest feat: Graduating from college.
My favorite hobby or leisure activity is hunting.
The three words that describe me best are very, very dedicated.
I don't want to brag, but ... I'm pretty good ...
The person in history I'd most like to meet is Wyatt Earp.
Luxury defined: Days off.
Dream vacation spot: I'm still looking.
Why Payson? Good climate, good people.