In northern Gila County, one of the most hotly contested races is for Payson regional constable. Four Republicans, including Kevin Christensen, Michelle Dyer, Chris Harold and Colt White are squaring off in the Aug. 24 primary election.
Each candidate brings a unique set of skills and work history to the position — from a retired police officer, to a business owner, search and rescue coordinator and an assistant high school football coach.
The office of constable is responsible for serving criminal and civil notices, including injunctions, such as orders of protection. Day to day, the constable issues legal notices, performs administrative duties and manages office staff. Besides the sheriff, the constable is the only other elected peace officer in the state.
Since the constable is considered an officer, they wear a badge, carry a gun and have arrest authority.
Read more about each of the constable candidates below.
Education: Associates degree in aviation technology
Family: Married 20 years. Two children, a 17-year-old son, and 14-year-old daughter.
Work history: From graduating college to present, I have worked as a pilot, airframe and power plant mechanic, firefighter and EMT for Payson Fire Department, construction superintendent, general contractor and business owner.
Arizona resident for 41 years.
Why should voters elect you? I feel I am the best candidate for what I can bring to the constable’s office. These include: a long, successful business record, including fiscal budgetary management, personnel management, and a calm respectable demeanor when interacting with the public.
My qualifications consist of the strong ability to protect taxpayer dollars, protect the integrity of the constable’s office, and a long history of dealing with the public respectfully and calmly at a level that is expected of an elected official that the public has placed its confidence in.
Goals for office: My goals are to maintain an efficient, dignified and dedicated public office of the constable.
I will also always will be accessible to my boss, the voting public.
Why did you want to be constable?
The reasons I chose to pursue the office of constable are simple. I am driven by the challenges of great management, the challenges of completing tasks no matter how difficult, traveling throughout the constable’s region and interacting with the public daily, and offering my skills back to my fellow taxpayers in these times that require responsible, conservative and dignified behavior.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
My vast financial and business experience and working with the public on a personal level.
Additional comments: As your Constable I will act with integrity, be fiscally responsible, and dedicate myself to the people of Gila County.
Michelle Ann Dyer
Education: Associate of Arts from Phoenix College. Phoenix Police Academy, 1976; Durham Business College, 1972; Glendale High School, 1971.
Family: Married 22 years to Allen Dyer. Two adult children, Katie and Brad, attending Arizona colleges.
Work history: Gila County deputy constable 2004, 2009 and 2010. Reserve police officer with Payson Police Department from 2000 to 2009. Police officer and detective with City of Phoenix from 1976-1997 (retired).
Arizona resident for 43 years.
Why should voters elect you? I was selected by the current and former constable to serve as deputy constable. I am experienced in the legal processes of the constable’s office. By Arizona law, the constable is a peace officer and I have been a certified peace officer since 1976. I have demonstrated, by serving as deputy to the current and previous constable, that I am competent to perform the necessary duties.
Goals for office: My goal is to serve the needs of the community and the courts by managing an effective and fiscally responsible office.
Why do you want to be constable? I have dedicated 31 years of my life to law enforcement public service. I want to leverage my extensive law enforcement background protecting and serving the citizens of Gila County.
What sets you apart from the other candidates? I am the only candidate already experienced in the day-to-day operation and duties of the office. The current constable entrusted his office to me during his vacations, personal and family leave time. Additionally, when the constable clerk took a two-week leave, I quickly accepted her responsibilities, allowing the elected constable to continue carrying out his duties without interruption.
Additional comments: I have 31 years of total law enforcement experience. More than 10 years were serving Rim Country as a deputy constable and reserve Payson police officer. I am eager to continue serving the people of Northern Gila County as their elected constable.
Education: Bachelor’s in education from Northern Arizona University
Family: Married for almost 10 years. Three children: Ashley, 15, Dalton, 8, and Caitlin, 6.
Work history: Construc-tion/masonry, four years law enforcement with Payson Police Department, high school teacher with Gila County Regional School District, football coach at Rim Country Middle School, assistant varsity football coach at Payson High School. Currently with Advanced Tactical Armament Concepts.
Native resident of Arizona.
Why should voters elect you? There are many reasons that I feel the voters of Gila County should choose me as the next constable. Primarily, my personal integrity and my desire to serve the citizens. I love Gila County and have lived here for many years.
I have developed friendships and relationships within the community. I commit to focusing on community service and promise to treat all citizens with professionalism and respect.
Concerning my professional qualifications, I served as a Payson police officer and I learned many skills, such as conflict resolution, officer safety habits, police practices, investigation techniques, firearm handling and safety and court procedures and testimony.
Goals for office: I feel it is a privilege to replace the current Constable, Sam Brewer. I will uphold the standard that Brewer has already set forth.
Why do you want to be constable? The court system is a vital aspect of our country. I am a proud citizen of the United States and Gila County. I feel excited to serve the legal system and do my part to help the court system run smoothly and effectively. I also know that I possess a skill set that perfectly matches the duties of constable in Gila County.
What sets you apart from the other candidates? I would give my full effort and pride to completing the mission of the constable.
Additional comments: I am dedicated and love this community and its citizens and I would like to be their public servant.
Editor’s note: Colt White said he was too busy to fill out the Roundup’s constable questionnaire and instead sent a press release.
Colt White has lived in the Rim Country for 34 years. Through his various experiences while living in the Rim Country, White said he has come to know the area and people that live in this rural area well.
“All my life I have been visiting family members who have lived in the Rim Country, in addition to hunting, fishing, camping and hiking this vast and variable area. In 1976, I moved to Payson with my parents, Phil and Judy White, to build and operate a Chevrolet dealership that is now owned by Chapman Auto Center. We later built and operated Phil White Ford in Star Valley.”
White said he was privileged to learn from his father how to run a successful business and developed the necessary skills to do so.
White said he has applied this stratagem in law enforcement and has come to realize success without jeopardizing officer safety. White said some people make a mistake, but if dealt with reasonably, learn from it.
“Wanting to serve my community in a meaningful way, I started my 18 years in law enforcement by becoming a certified police officer and serving as a reserve officer for Payson Police Department. I eventually moved over to the Gila County Sheriff’s Office where I became a full time deputy. My duties included patrol of the various communities in Northern Gila County protecting people and their property, drug interdiction, burglary investigation, underwater dive recovery, search and rescue coordinator and detective for the Gila County Narcotics Task Force.”
Colt said while working as a deputy, he served processes given by the Superior Court and assisted the constable in serving various processes/papers from the Justice of the Peace Court. This gave him the experience of performing the day-to-day services of a constable. “I hope everyone can see the training, experience and talents that I possess and will utilize in office.”