Police, Firefighters Perform Quiet Community Service


This photo was taken last week on a quiet street in Payson.

There are many photos like it in the Roundup archives that have never been published, and likely never will be.

We often receive inquiries from readers asking why some of these events don't appear in the pages of the newspaper.

That's because there are many incidents each year in which Payson Police are called to help someone who is in danger of harming themselves.

Roundup reporters often capture these images but file them away when we learn it involved a distraught individual and the incident ended peacefully with no arrests. There are some exceptions, but generally our staff holds true to this policy.

I have personally observed a number of such cases and feel compelled to share what I have witnessed.

As you might expect, I see the courage -- of men and women who are willing to approach troubled, often armed, individuals in an effort to help them.

With each step the officers approach an uncertain fate, so they wear protective gear and stay alert. Observers might be quick to criticize the frontline officers for dressing like soldiers.

But many Payson residents remember Police Chief Dave Wilson who lost his life while trying to help a distraught individual.

I also see order and confidence --the kind of confidence that comes from proper training, preparation and leadership.

But what really impresses me is the compassion many of our officers exhibit. Not just for the people they are trying to help, but for their families and concerned neighbors.

These are the stories rarely told.

We regularly publish headlines reporting when police officers capture criminals or shut down meth labs in our community. Because it's their job, readers might be inclined to take such news for granted.

At times we may also need to report incidents in which an officer's actions might be in question. That's our job.

It's also our job to present accurate information.

Recently, we made an error in a report that unfairly reflects the compensation our starting officers receive.

In our Friday, June 24 edition we published an article highlighting proposed salary increases for town employees.

In our report we listed a starting salary figure of $46,296. The correct starting pay for rookie officers begins at $33,043. (See correction in this issue.) We also implied that firefighters have a starting wage of $50,424. The firefighter salary range is in fact similar to police officers starting at $33,043. Like the police, they too perform quiet acts of service every day that go beyond the obvious calls to fight fires. We apologize for our mistakes.

Such errors could lead readers to form unfair opinions about our officers and firefighters and what motivates them.

For many, it's not about money -- it's a matter of duty and honor.

We thank them for their service.

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