Police Use Talk, Trust To End Standoff

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Payson police officers more than earned their pay Sunday, as they were able to talk a man out of his house who was firing bullets at them, all without any serious injuries.

When someone is shooting at you — more than 20 rounds struck objects near officers — it is hard to remain calm and not return fire in self-defense.

The incident, which began in the early morning hours, lasted some nine hours Sunday. Police negotiators managed to establish a line of communication with a distraught man — who said he was a Gulf War veteran and believed the police in front of his home were the enemy — and eventually coax him out of the house. Officers had to first get him to release his 9-year-old son, again without any injuries.

The standoff was tense, but Payson police officers kept focused on what they needed to accomplish, getting the man safely out of the house. They didn’t rush the situation or force a premature end to the incident. They could have used force to end the standoff, but decided to establish trust, and talk the man out of the house.

Police officers get accused of many things, most of them bad by some members of the public, but these officers put their lives on the line Sunday, being shot at more than 20 times. They had every right to fire back, to charge the house or take some other forceful action, but they didn’t. They waited. They brought friends of the man into a command post to talk with him over the phone, when the first three friends had no impact; they brought in a fourth, and finally the man suddenly walked out of house.

We don’t know all the details as investigators are still putting together the pieces of why the man started shooting in the first place and why he thought police were the enemy.

But the bottom line is the police brought the situation to an end without anyone getting shot or hurt. We commend the police department and all the individual officers involved for their dedication and efforts to bring a peaceful ending to a difficult situation.

Help needed by community groups and services

We are all watching our pennies. Each expenditure we make is examined with an eye to the bottom line.

Rim Country community groups and services are doing the same thing and making urgent pleas for assistance.

Residents stepped up and continued their support of the Mogollon Health Alliance and its efforts to assist dialysis patients by almost selling out the recent Black & White Ball.

Now, new fund-raisers are on the horizon.

This weekend the Soroptimists are having a special See’s Candy sale for Valentine’s Day to help the group provide funds to Time Out, Inc., Payson Community Kids and other programs.

The Payson Humane Society’s Valentine’s Gala is Feb. 14.

The Library Friends of Payson’s A Taste of Rim Country is a little more than a month away.

There is time to plan for the extra expense of supporting either the Humane Society or Library Friends. Both provide an important service to residents of the Rim Country.

Animals in need — unwanted or abused — are given shelter and care by the Humane Society.

For years the Humane Society has been providing this important service out of a building that is pretty much held together by duct tape and baling wire, with some chewing gum thrown in on occasion. The money raised at the Valentine’s Gala will be used to help build a new facility that will make it possible to expand the care for the area’s most helpless and unfortunate.

The Library Friends have taken on the task of funding the Payson Public Library’s book budget. Community participation in A Taste of Rim Country will help the group with that task.

The materials at the library are a priceless resource; they educate and widen horizons, as well as entertain. Anyone who would like one, can get a library card, regardless of age or income. The world is at the fingertips of everyone in the Rim Country at the Payson Public Library.

Take a look at that bottom line in the next week or so. Is there a little extra you can spare? It could make a big difference for the whole community.

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