Payson Police Sergeant Named Officer Of The Quarter

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On Tuesday, the Gila County Attorney’s Office recognized one of Payson’s finest as officer of the quarter.

Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores presented Sgt. Joni Varga with a plaque alongside Chief Don Engler and Varga’s husband, Det. Mike Varga.

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Joni Varga

Four times each year, the attorney’s office recognizes a member of the Gila County law enforcement community for their superior service in the prosecution of criminal matters. Flores reviews numerous recommendations and selects an officer that best illustrates an exemplary attitude and work ethic.

“Sgt. Joni Varga is a shining example of an officer who exhibits excellent law enforcement poise and work ethic. It is with great honor that the Gila County Attorney’s Office acknowledges Sgt. Varga and we commend her for her hard work and dedication to our county,” Flores said.

“She is an asset to the Payson Police Department and serves as a worthy example of quality law enforcement.”

The PPD hired Varga in September of 1999 as a dispatcher. Varga answered calls for three years, winning the title of Tele-Communicator in 2001. In December 2002, Varga became a patrol officer eventually serving in the investigations department until she was promoted to patrol sergeant.

Varga maintains many duties outside her role as supervisor. She helped develop several brochures and has sat on several committees.

She has maintained the “Watch Your Car” and “VIN Etching” vehicle programs since 2006 and served as an instructor with the PPD Police Academy in 2007. Varga also assisted with the K-9 trials in 2006 and 2008.

“Even with all these extra-assigned duties, Varga continues to maintain a squad of patrol officers that produce high-quality law enforcement service to our community,” Flores said.

Recently, Varga helped convict John Patrick Kelly of defrauding several individuals and businesses in the Payson, Star Valley and the Pine-Strawberry area. 

“Varga took the initiative to investigate what appeared to be a civil dispute over failed payment for promised goods and her investigation led to the discovery that it was much more than a simple civil matter,” Flores said.

“She was a solid witness on the stand during trial and without her diligent investigations and convincing testimony we could not have been able to ensure justice for the victims.”

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