Residents Unhappy About 911 Service Delays

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Residents in Payson think police are not providing adequate service to the community in some cases.

Payson resident Greg Friestad said, "I don't know if you are aware, but there are people here in Payson who are saying they will never dial 911 again."

Friestad said that he was instrumental in creating 911 services in Payson and he is disappointed in how it is being operated.

"Friestad said, "The 911 operators are sometimes very rude, depending on who you talk to, and they take forever to get there."

Friestad said once when he called 911, it took nearly an hour for an officer to show up.

"When they finally got there, they didn't do anything to solve the problem," he said.

One Star Valley resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, said it would be nice if the officers assigned to serve them (residents of Star Valley) could be identified and known to the community.

He said it would make them feel better to know who the officers are that will be answering calls.

Engler said, "let me answer that in this way, we don't have specific officers assigned to Star Valley."

"We send officers out to calls as they are available to respond to them," he said.

"On any given call, the officers may not be the same ones who answered a previous call to the same location."

Engler said Payson police is only 33 officers strong right now and that assigning specific officers permanently to Star Valley is not possible.

Doug Talbot, who lives in Foothills Estates, said his house has been egged on a regular basis and police have not stopped it.

"I've been egged eight or nine times, and my house has been hit with paintballs from across the street."

He added, "I've turned in reports and nothing has happened, it is out of hand."

Talbot said, "My question is this, if it was your house, do you think it would still be unsolved?"

Engler said he is aware there has been a "big problem" with homes being egged in Payson.

He said police have a partial description of the vehicle they think is involved in egging homes, but he said it is probably juveniles and will hopefully stop after school starts.

Engler added, "If anyone sees vehicles, or someone they think look suspicious or out of place in their neighborhood, we want you to call in and let us know, that's our job."

Dave Engleman voiced complaints about safety issues while walking his dog in Payson.

"What are you going to do about speeders in Payson?" Engleman asked.

"You might as well stay off Manzanita Drive, it's the Indianapolis Speedway on that road."

Engleman said, "One time when I was walking my dog on Houston-Mesa Road, I came to an intersection where a lifted truck was stopped."

"He didn't make any indication he was not going to let me cross, so I started across with my dog, and then he started doing 180's in the dirt around me and my dog and nearly scared us to death."

Engleman also said he and others have called police about drug activity and nothing happens.

Engler said that Payson has drug task force that is now separate from the Gila County task force.

"I guess it was about two years ago that we took our two detectives off the county task force and began to have them work exclusively in and around Payson on the methamphetamine problem we had here," he said.

"Just one of the detectives, pretty much on his own, conducted 53 search warrants and made, I think, it was 88 arrests, in connection with meth activity last year, so I think that is pretty good," Engler said.

Engler ended the meeting by saying that since turnout was so good for the first meeting he wants to hold another one in a month and probably continue having monthly meetings open to the public.

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