Locals Graduate From Payson Police Academy

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On Saturday, two men from Payson -- Jesse Davies, 24, and Michael Hansen, 22 -- along with six other cadets of the 2006-2007 class, will graduate from the Payson Police Academy.

The graduation ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. at the Payson Police Department at 303 N. Beeline Highway.

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On Tuesday and Thursday this week, Payson Police Academy cadets underwent Taser Training. Each cadet had to experience a taser blast in order to understand the effects of the weapon.

Hansen and Davies both agreed that sacrifices were made by themselves and their families in order to get to this point.

"It has been a ton of Sundays, and trying to balance a job, making a living, and a wife (Hansen will be married three years in July) has been really hard," he said.

"But everyone has been supportive and that has made it easier for me."

Davies said he has had to make adjustments to accommodate training, which mostly takes place in the evening and on weekends.

"Scheduling has been the most difficult thing for me. Sacrificing time with family and friends hasn't been easy, but nobody seems to have any problems with it," he said.

Davies has lived in Payson for 15 years since his family moved here in 1992, when he was 9 years old.

"Even my Mom, I think, has come to terms with the training and my becoming a police officer," Davies said.

Academy coordinator Sgt. Rod Mamero, an 18-year veteran of the police force in Payson, said he is very proud of each and every graduate.

"They may be among the highest academically in the state, as far as police training," Mamero said. "To the best of my knowledge, two of our students are even exceeding all academy standards and requirements.

"Recruiters from other states have asked me to post or hand out fliers to our students."

Payson Police Academy training began on Sept. 1, 2006, and ends on Saturday, when the cadets graduate and become fully certified law enforcement officers, ready for employment.

Cadets of the Payson Police Academy received no compensation during the course of their training, Mamero said. "These guys are all sacrificing so much to be here. They have families and full-time jobs they go to every day, and then come here to attend classes at night and they aren't getting paid like a lot of other (police) academies across the country."

Cadets attended training from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well as giving up many Sundays voluntarily.

Mamero said all of the recruits have already been on countless patrols with members of the Payson Police Department.

"All of them (the cadets) have been out in the field, with limited authority status, and all of them have performed very well," he said.

Mamero hopes to hire five or six of the graduates almost immediately to join the Payson Police force.

Both Hansen and Davies said they are hopeful they will be among the ones to be chosen for hire.

Davies said, "I will wait as long as it takes to get onto the Payson force."

Davies (born in 1983) has lived in Payson since 1992, and Hansen, although born in Show Low, moved to Payson shortly after he was born in 1985.

"We moved here when I was just a baby," Hansen said. "So, yes, I have lived here all my life."

Hansen said he hopes to be able to give something back to Payson and the surrounding communities after he graduates.

"For severaI years I have wanted to join the (Payson) force, so even if I am not among the first to get picked, I don't think it will be long before I am hired," he said. "I have been here so long. I know everyone and they know me. I have roots here.

"When it is all said and done, I want to be able to look back on my career and know I made a difference."

Graduates in Saturday's ceremonies are Thomas M. Barker, Jesse T. Davies, Michael A. Hansen, Jared B. Meredith, David M. Steel, Victor M. Thompson, Bryan C. Watson and Matthew J. Zimmerman.

For information on joining the next Payson Police Academy call Sgt. Mamero at (928) 474-5177.

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