Commander Aspires To Be Next Police Chief

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The Payson Police Commander recently earned his master's in business administration with an emphasis in leadership, which could ultimately lead to a promotion within the Payson Police Department.

Don Engler started taking online courses in pursuit of his master's from Grand Canyon University in October 2004.

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Payson Police Commander Don Engler began his law enforcement career 23 years ago as a reserve officer, and worked his way through the ranks. With Chief Gordon Gartner retiring this summer, Engler hopes the Payson council will choose him for the job.

He is hopeful this education will help convince the Payson Town Council to name him as the replacement for Chief Gordon Gartner, who is retiring at the end of June.

"I am sure interested in that type of job, and we will see how things develop in the next few months," he said, adding a master's is not a requirement to become a police chief.

Since he began his study, his approach to his job has changed, Engler said. He thinks more with a business mindset -- focusing on long-term planning as well as his day-to-day duties.

In the recent past, the police commander has worked more on the budget as well as interacting more with town employees and the council.

Engler earned a bachelor's in public safety administration from Grand Canyon University.

He said earning the master's was a different process.

"It was an online program with assignments every week," he said, mentioning he interacted online with instructors and classmates.

The police commander said, he was putting in between 12 to 20 hours a week studying while he pursued his master's.

He said time management was a key component to ensure nothing in his life changed.

"It took considerable effort to not let anything suffer on both fronts," he said. "It was a challenge."

He said setting aside some time and getting as much homework done early in the week was the only way he could get through without his job and home life suffering.

Gartner said the master's degree means Engler is very qualified to be a police chief in any community.

The police commander started his law enforcement career 23 years ago as a reserve officer, and worked his way through the ranks, Gartner said.

He added that the police commander has 23 years of law enforcement training as well as several years of commander experience. Gartner added, that Engler has also attended the FBI National Academy to bolster his training.

The police chief said it will be up to the Payson Town Council to decide if it wants to promote Engler as the town's next police chief.

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