Four times each year, the Gila County Attorney's Office recognizes a member of the Gila County law enforcement community for his or her superior service in the prosecution of criminal matters. The county attorney reviews numerous recommendations, but selects the officer who, at the time, best illustrates an exemplary attitude and work ethic.
Matt Van Camp, a detective with the Payson Police Department, is the first honoree of 2006.
Van Camp started his law enforcement career as a Payson Police Reserve Officer for 10 months. During this time, he attended the Central Arizona Regional Law Officer Training Academy and earned his certification as a Law Enforcement Officer in Arizona.
Van Camp has been a certified officer for 10-1/2 years. His service has been entirely with the Payson Police Department. He was a patrol officer for approximately five years, and then he served on the Gila County Narcotics Task Force for one-and-a-half years as a narcotics officer. He has been a criminal investigator for the past four-and-a-half years.
Van Camp is also a member of the Payson Police Department Special Response Team, and he also serves as the coordinator of the Law Enforcement Christmas for Kids Program. This program raised $19,000 last year and was used to purchase Christmas gifts for underprivileged children in Gila County.
Van Camp has been an essential element of several recent cases being prosecuted in Gila County. He was the case officer in State v. Kevan Kuhlman, wherein the defendant was successfully convicted of 2nd degree murder for the death of Susan Birchak. "Detective Van Camp was an integral part of this successful prosecution," said County Attorney Daisy Flores. "He was willing to go the extra step to ensure that justice was done. He is a credit to his department."
It is with great honor that we can acknowledge a dedicated and thorough officer like Detective Van Camp. He is commended for his hard work and dedication to the community.