I recently read the article on Sgt. John Heflin who is with the Payson Police Department and our hats go off to the sergeant. And his comments!
Like he stated "What happens on TV really happens in Payson!" It's not a 9-5 job, weekends off. It's a 24/7 job even when out of uniform and out of that patrol car, as was in corrections (department) back in New York State, you're a peace officer even when off duty. Sgt. Heflin seems to know the importance of communication with the public and how to deal with inmates on all levels and if I didn't use communication my job proved more difficult, what I always advocated in the academy, teach more communication skills training and how to deal with angry, sad and hostile inmates.
The other officer stated, "You have to have a warped sense of humor." How true that is! I mentioned that in my class speech on graduation day. I told my fellow correction officers, if you have no sense of humor, you will allow the job to break you and affect you in many ways you couldn't imagine! The adrenaline flows and you need that sense of humor to survive mentally!
My husband is a retired New York State corrections officer and worked as a police officer also, so for me it was an advantage to be able to debrief with him at the end of a long day.
I worked in a private facility in Phoenix and we heard over and over how younger officers coming in wanted every weekend off, no overtime and not to get stuck working until the next officer came to relieve them. If we were short, which was always a given, you had no choice.
Wearing a uniform isn't all glamorous and the job requires much more. I had the opportunity to meet Sgt. Heflin last year after we bought our home here in Payson. We had an issue on our property and he came out with another officer who was in training. He was so professional and listened to what I had to say and my concerns, after speaking to my husband. He took it serious and that was important. He left his card with his number on it and told us to call if any further problems cropped up. That made us feel more secure and he welcomed us to Payson. We need more officers like Sgt. Heflin. May you all be blessed in what you do every day and thanks for being out there.
Brenda A. Rivers