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Legends in this issue 2 | LEGENDS | June 2016 | Idaho State Journal

Jim Peterson  Corey Sato Shannon Bloxham Akilah Lacey Katie Flores Tyson Infanger Brigham Hymas Toni Vollmer Dustin Willis Troy Smith Doug Armstrong Michael Vasquez

Page 3 Page 4 Page 6 Page 8 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 18

Kelly Biggs Nathan Stohosky Joni Ramirez John Canfield

Page 19 Page 20 Page 22 Page 23

On the cover: Pocatello Police K-9 officer Akilah Lacey and Bart | Photo by Doug Lindley Editor: Ian Fennell | 208-239-3121 | Publication graphic designer: Danae Lenz

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Jim Peterson Pocatello Police department


By Shelbie Harris For the Journal

or Major Jim Peterson — a 31-year veteran of the Pocatello Police Department and current deputy chief — law enforcement is a family affair. Both his wife, a retired Bannock County Sheriff’s deputy of 30 years, and two sons have dedicated their lives to serving others. One son has worked for the Pocatello Police for the past five years, and the other is with the Boise Police Department after

six years in Pocatello. “(My wife) was actually working when we met back when I was a reserve officer in Chubbuck,” Peterson said. “Then we got married and had the two kids. It’s what they grew up with. That was their whole life.” Peterson said it wasn’t that he encouraged his sons to follow in his footsteps, but that’s what they both decided to do and he was supportive of their decision. His only stipulation was that they both went to college and got a degree first. More Peterson I Page 28

Corey Sato Idaho Falls Police Department


By Sarah Glenn For the Journal

s December 2006 came to a close, Corey Sato was sitting in a small shop near Tallil, Iraq, with a local teenager. The tension was thick as a nearby TV played footage of Saddam Hussein stepping onto the gallows, ready for execution, a thick brown rope draped around his neck. “I got pretty nervous,” said Sato, who at the time was a sergeant serving a tour of duty with the United States Army Reserves. “I didn’t know what he was going to think.” Then the boy started crying. “He got talking to me, telling me how he hopes we never leave and that he is happy we are there, that he feels better having us there,” Sato said. The moment cemented Sato’s determination to serve others — wherever he could.

LEGENDs | June 2016 | Idaho State Journal | 5

“Being a police officer is not for everybody, but it must be for me because I love it.” The dark-haired, clean-cut Sato was sworn in on March 24 as a police officer for the Idaho Falls Police Department. The career change came after 15 years serving in the U.S. Army Reserves as well as a decade-long career working for HK Contractors. “I like to serve,” Sato said. “I looked into the police department and thought, ‘That’s for me’. I love wearing the uniform, and I love serving people. It was right up my alley.” Sato applied for the job in September 2015 and was sworn in six months later. “We hire for leadership,” said Idaho Falls Police Chief Mark McBride. “We hire officers who we believe will show proper respect for the community, people who are eager and wanting to serve their communities.” A lifelong resident of Southeast Idaho, Sato is also a husband and a father. He was born and raised in Pocatello but has also lived in Rigby, St. Anthony and Idaho Falls. “It’s a great community,” Sato said of Idaho Falls. “Everywhere I go, people want to say, ‘Thanks for your service.’” The Idaho native’s military service included a 15-month tour of duty in Iraq. After three months of training, the military shipped the Idaho man off to Imam Ali Air Base near Nasiriyah, Iraq. It is also known as Tallil Air Base. Inside the Air Force base’s 11 squaremiles sits the ancient Babylonian city of Ur, known as the birthplace of Abraham. The city’s ancient temple still stands inside the base. “That was pretty cool,” Sato said. Outside the safety of the base, Sato learned how to calmly take the edge off tense situations. “Just being over there is a high-stress

situation,” Sato said. Attaining the rank of a sergeant, Sato worked as a mechanic and logistics specialist. He ran the supply warehouse and was a convoy mechanic out on the road. As a sergeant in Iraq, Sato led 10 to 12 guys through daily operations. “They joked that I could fix things, order supplies and run the warehouse where they came from,” Sato said with a smile. During his time in the military, Sato attended various leadership courses, including the Warrior Leaders Course. “In the military, we got lots of training on search and seizure, detainment, situation control,” Sato said. When he returned from active duty, Sato met his wife and settled into a more local routine with HK Construction. He spent those years laying asphalt, paving driveways and doing other assorted roadwork. But he knew he wanted to serve his community in law enforcement. “In Idaho Falls, the police department seems to have a pretty good community relationship,” Sato said. “You don’t run into any anti-police sentiment around here.” Today, he is working his way through department training. He plans to attend the police academy in August. On an average work day, Sato is on patrol. With a more experienced partner by his side, he is in the community performing traffic stops, writing reports and doing all the tasks of an average officer. “I think this is something I’ll be doing for the rest of my life,” Sato said. “Being a police officer is not for everybody, but it must be for me because I love it.”

6 | LEGENDS | June 2016 | Idaho State Journal

shannon bloxham


By Shelbie Harris For the Journal

n a predominately male position, female Pocatello police officer Shannon Bloxham wears her badge high as she patrols the streets of Pocatello. She said gender plays a small role for those new to the blue, and she is now one of six female officers on the force. “I’m not exactly small in stature for a female,” she said. “There are other female officers that are fairly small, but I’m sure they get along just fine, too. I’ve never had any issues.” Before joining the Pocatello Police in January 2014, Bloxham had worked as a deputy at the Bannock County jail since 2009. She became familiar with how law enforce-

ment agencies function and the idea became so fascinating that she decided to make the move to patrol. “When going from detention to patrol, we take the same physical test, and the standards are the same,” she said. “I have to stay in shape, run a little bit and know how to write a report. It’s a hard process to get on here, but being a female doesn’t make it any more challenging.” In addition to police work, she coaches a 12-year-old youth softball league. After graduating from Pocatello High School, she coached its freshman softball team as well. In her youth, Bloxham said she did as any teenager might do and hung out with the wrong crowd, and she was always the one to get caught when doing something wrong. More Bloxham I Page 30

City of Blackfoot Expresses their gratitude to our First Responders for making our community safe

Akilah lacey P

By Shelbie Harris For the Journal

olice officers undergo rigorous training to ensure their safety and to protect the well-being of citizens in the community. When Bart, a Dutch Shepard police dog, and his handler, Akilah Lacey, a Pocatello Police K-9 officer, responded to a scene in which a suspect considered armed and dangerous had previously threatened police with a standoff, both were on high alert. “He went down into a basement to find a bad guy who was hiding in

LEGENDs | June 2016 | Idaho State Journal | 9

a crawlspace and alerted to where he was at,” Lacey said. “The guy gave up, I was able to call Bart back to me, and the guy surrendered peacefully. Nobody got hurt, and Bart made it a quick and painless arrest.” Lacey left his general manager position at Outer Limits Fun Zone to join the Pocatello Police force six years ago and has been a K-9 handler for more than a year. Though his employment changed, his passion for engaging and protecting our youth has never faltered. “When things go wrong with kids, it really irks me,” he said. “When kids are being abused or neglected or in a bad situation, I make it my goal to try to help them the best I can.” An Idaho State University alumnus who earned a degree in public relations, Lacey is one of six former Bengal football players on the force. He’s excited to tap into all of Bart’s potential and aspires to one day change legislation that currently states Idaho K-9s are property and do not receive the same protections as those in other states. “I can’t use lethal force to protect my dog,” he said. “Now if somebody shot at my dog, and he’s standing right next to me, that’s a bit different.” Growing up in California, Lacey said negative interactions shaped his early opinions of law enforcement as being robotic or racist but added that he brought on a good majority of those situ-

“When kids are being abused or neglected or in a bad situation, I make it my goal to try to help them the best I can.” ations by himself. Additionally, living the bigger city life early on provided him with the street smarts necessary for keeping drugs and other crimes off the streets of Pocatello. “I tell people all the time I wished they could be a police officer for a month,” he said. “Just to experience and see what we deal with all the time.” Unlike detectives or those involved in the court process, patrol officers don’t always have the liberty of following a case from open to close. Their moments of reflection or satisfaction are short-lived as the next call comes firing off the radio. However, one specific case sticks out to Lacey — one he felt fortunate to see resolved, at least temporarily. “I had to take kids out of

a house that you could smell the trash from the sidewalk,” he said. “They were sleeping on cat urine-infested pillows, needles and drugs were everywhere, and three kids were in there.” One kid’s bed was two couch cushions shoved together and was saturated in dog feces. “To only make that scenario worse, we went up to the parent’s room and it was spotless,” he said. “There was a flat-screen TV and a security system, but you could literally smell the refrigerator from the end of the driveway. I don’t think I’ve ever been as mad or disheartened in my life.” Lacey said afterward he didn’t feel gratified because although he may have saved them for a week, he doesn’t know what’s going to happen to those kids in the end.

Katie Flores 10 | LEGENDS | June 2016 | Idaho State Journal

Bingham County sheriff’s office


By Kendra Evensen

itizens may not see Katie Flores during emergency situations, but she plays a crucial behind-the-scenes role in getting help to those who need it. Flores is a lead dispatcher with the Bingham County Sheriff ’s Office. In her post, she has to get information from people who need assistance and pass it

on to those who can help: law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics and EMTs in Bingham County, Blackfoot, Aberdeen, Shelley and Firth. That may sound fairly easy, but it’s not. Flores has to be able to listen actively, communicate clearly and remain levelheaded as she makes decisions during an emergency situation. “As a caller-taker, we process calls for service from citizens,” she said. “We operate a multi-line telephone console and translate information into a computeraided dispatch system in order for calls for service to be dispatched by the radio dispatcher. As an emergency services 911 dispatcher, we must take calls independently, making split-second decisions that may affect citizens’ and officers’ safety alike. (We also) ask vital questions and provide pre-arrival instructions for emergency medical calls while monitoring and operating the fire/ambulance radio and computer equipment.” Although Flores finds a lot of satisfaction in what she does, it’s not always easy to be the person others call when they need help. “Receiving/dispatching calls involving a child or an individual that is reporting they are with someone who is dying or has the potential of dying and hoping that you are able to get help to them in time to save the life (is the hardest part),” Flores said. More flores I Page 26

LEGENDs | June 2016 | Idaho State Journal | 11

Tyson Infanger I

By Shelbie Harris For the Journal

f you were born in the 1980s, it’s likely you watched California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers Jon Baker and Frank “Ponch” Poncherello cruise the freeways of Los Angeles in the hit television series, “CHiPs.” Tyson Infanger, a California native and current Blackfoot police officer of four years, not only watched the show but also was inspired to join law enforcement because of it. More Infanger I Page 26

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Brigham Hymas

Idaho state police


By Shelbie Harris For the Journal

daho patrol officers are required to complete a strenuous 10-week Peace Officer Standards and Trainings academy before they are eligible to hit the streets. The curriculum focuses on the foundation of knowledge and practical skills necessary for patrol duties. Immediately following his POST academy training, Brigham Hymas, a trooper with the Idaho State Police, parked his police cruiser in the driveway of his recently purchased home in Pocatello. The next day, he discovered someone had vandalized his car. He’d been a state trooper for less than a week. “It was something I took personally,” he said. “I thought, ‘Is it really this bad? Are my kids safe?’” Other police officers in the neighborhood said they have never heard of something like that happening before in the 15 years they’ve

lived there. Hymas decided to stick it out and has been on the force since November of 2014. Before becoming a state trooper, he served as a sheriff’s detention deputy for Bonneville County. “I love working with people,” he said. “Obviously, part of my job is to punish people and to enforce the law, but I love the randomness my job brings.” While many others sit at their 9-to-5 office jobs, Hymas’s office is his patrol car. He campaigns the highways stretching from Blackfoot to American Falls and Pocatello to Inkom. His goal is to obtain as much experience with the department while building on his existing bachelor’s degree. “To be honest, one of the biggest reasons I decided to come this route was I needed a job,” he said. “When I got out of college, it was pretty hard to find a job, and not just any job but a career.” More Hymas I Page 27

LEGENDs | June 2016 | Idaho State Journal | 13

Toni Vollmer Bannock County Sheriff’s office

By Shelbie Harris For the Journal


offee. More than half of American adults drink it daily, and the men and women in blue are no exception. In fact, if it weren’t for a few coffee-drinking police officers stopping for a cup of Joe at the American Falls Circle K convenience store more than 30 years ago, Lt. Toni Vollmer, a 28-year veteran with the Bannock County Sheriff ’s Office, may have never found her true calling. “I was going to college to be a teacher, and I’m from American Falls, which is a small town,” she said. “There wasn’t really much for women to do besides be moms, teachers or nurses.” Back then, Vollmer was working graveyard shifts, a time that can otherwise be rather uneventful for a small town in Southeast Idaho. “The cops kept coming in and getting coffee, so I started chatting with them, which led to me riding along with them,” she said. “Once you go out and ride, it’s pretty much

decided you’re going to be a cop.” Vollmer altered her educational aims and enrolled in the law enforcement vocational technical program at Idaho State University. After graduating in 1986, she worked for Power County until 1988, before working a year at the Bannock County jail, four years in patrol and the remainder in the detectives division. “I like the brain work of it all,” she said. “Mainly the strategy, the challenge of thinking everything out and putting the puzzle pieces together.”

Over the years at Bannock County, Vollmer believes she’s far exceeded the goals she set for herself, and she said she never intended to become a supervisor. A self-proclaimed workaholic, she said she lives vicariously through her family members and her two canine companions. “My personal goal was to work,” she said. “This is what I decided I want to do, and I put everything into it.” Early in her career, she specialized in crimes against children, though she currently handles cellphone forensics. More Vollmer I Page 24

Dustin willis 14 | LEGENDS | June 2016 | Idaho State Journal


By Shelbie Harris For the Journal

f there’s any position in law enforcement that is underappreciated, it’s public safety officials such as those who patrol the campus of Idaho State University, said Dustin Willis, an ISU Public Safety officer of eight years. Like many others in law enforcement, public safety officers hear insults that scale the gamut, from meter maids to rent-a-cops, but interestingly enough these individuals respond to many of the same calls as their counterparts working for the city, state or county. “For a long time, I felt people had interactions with Public Safety that probably weren’t so pleasant,” Willis said. “If I hear someone yell, ‘Hey, rent-a-cop’ or something crazy, I’ll just go talk to the person. For the most part, if I can talk to someone, I can show that I’m just a good dude with a family and job to do.” Though he was born in Panguitch, Utah, Willis has lived in Idaho since he was 6 months old and considers himself a true Idahoan. A Highland High School graduate, he traveled to the Philippines for a mission before getting married and attending school at ISU. “I was a student officer when I first started,” he said. “Our duty was to check buildings and observe and report. We took a few calls, but after a year a full-time spot opened up, and I got hired on.” Willis became a patrol sergeant three years ago and currently oversees all special events on campus including football games, concerts and graduation commencement. More Willis I Page 29

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LEGENDs | June 2016 | Idaho State Journal | 15


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pl. Troy Smith with the Power County Sheriff’s Office said he always knew that he wanted to be a cop. “It was either this or the military,” Smith said. Smith is an identical twin and his twin brother, Trent Smith, is employed as a deputy for Bannock County. A 2004 graduate of American Falls High

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ty ce

“Growing up in South Bannock County was a great opportunity,” he said. “I was part of a core group of friends that spent a lot of time together, and we never ran out of adventures or things to do. From farm work to hunting and fishing, there was always something on the agenda.”

In his role, the primary job of a patrol officer is to respond to calls for service. These calls can come at all times of the day and night, with no limit to the type of incident they take on. “From unattended deaths and accidents to loose cows, barking dogs or water issues, officers respond and try to handle the issue to the best of their ability as they maintain some type of order in situations that are often tragic, volatile and charged with emotion,” he said. He believes that most officers have an underlying desire to serve their fellow man and to maintain law and order in the community. He said he has been fortunate to work the type of cases and gain the experience that he wanted as a young officer and is now in a position that he can assist younger recruits start their own careers. “As far as future goals, there are always things that you want to accomplish, but the driving force is to ensure that the patrol officers have the resources, equipment and backup, so they can safely and effectively accomplish their jobs,” he said. Armstrong attended Marsh Valley High School in 1985, and after college and several years in Arizona, he decided to move back to Southeast Idaho. Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen was the school resource officer for Marsh Valley at the time, and Armstrong said it drove him crazy knowing that he had a cop at

the school who was watching over him and his classmates and trying to catch them doing stuff wrong. “After working in Arizona for several years, it was Sheriff Nielsen who made arrangements for me to go on a ridealong with a patrol officer,” he said. “I immediately knew what I was supposed to do for a career. The rest just fell into place.” A few years ago, he had the pleasure of presenting a 10year sobriety coin to a couple who at one time hated him for the job he was doing and the rules he was enforcing. He and this couple are now close friends, and he said they would do anything to help him at a moment’s notice. “Over the last 24 years, there have been many situations that have been rewarding, and in a lot of situations, I don’t think people realize the role they play in helping others,” he said. “There have been many who have helped me in my career, and I hope that when my career is over that there will be some who felt that my time wasn’t wasted.” Although he has worked for Bannock County for 24 years, his dream job, one in which he just achieved, was in the works for more than 30 years. Recently appointed as the head football coach at Marsh Valley, Armstrong hopes that in serving as a coach he can be a positive impact for the student-athletes, run a successful program and help develop the next generation of young men to be positive members of their chosen communities.

18 | LEGENDS | June 2016 | Idaho State Journal

Michael Vasquez By Kendra Evensen


s the only full-time marine deputy for Bonneville County Sheriff ’s Office patrolling what he calls “some of the best water in the world,” it may seem like Michael Vasquez has a dream job. “It’s not a bad job to go to work and go out and run boats,” he said. Still, Vasquez’s work can also be difficult, and at times, devastating because accidents do happen on the water. That’s why he and others work hard to ensure that boaters are being safe and that they’re following the laws. The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol unit, which also includes four backcountry deputies who work on or near the water and more who can assist in times of need, serves the Palisades and Ririe reservoirs, Gem Lake, a 25-mile stretch of the Snake River and other local waterways, according to the sheriff’s office’s website. Vasquez said they offer classes and hold other events throughout the year to teach people about boating safety. While out on the water, they also make sure boats are registered and that drivers are following navigation rules. And they check to see if people have the right safety equipment on board, including a fire extinguisher and life jackets that can be quickly accessed. Although only children are required to wear life jackets on board, Vasquez encourages everyone to put them on because things can change instantly and there’s not always time to reach for a lifejacket. Vasquez, who is also a diver for the county,

knows. He has responded to his share of recoveries in the past. “The hardest ones are kids who weren’t (wearing) lifejackets,” Vasquez said. “That’s never easy on any deputies.” But Vasquez has participated in rescues, too, and those are gratifying moments for him. Earlier this year, a boat capsized in the Snake River just below the Broadway Bridge in downtown Idaho Falls. Vasquez and other personnel from the sheriff’s office, fire department and police department quickly responded to the scene to help rescue two men and their two 4-year-old children who ended up in the 47-degree water. “This one was a very good one for us,” Vasquez said, adding that they were able to get everybody out of the water in less than 30 minutes. That’s unusual. There were several factors in their favor this time around. Both children were wearing life jackets, there were witnesses around who could quickly report the incident and the location of the victims, and many responders were nearby the downtown location, Vasquez said.

More Vasquez I Page 24

Kelly biggs LEGENDs | June 2016 | Idaho State Journal | 19

By Cydney Mcfarland


orn and raised in Franklin County, deputy Kelly Biggs always had a desire to help his community. As a Franklin County deputy and school resource officer, it appears that he’s succeeded. Biggs joined the Army National Guard and was stationed in Southeast Idaho for 23 years before retiring as a master sergeant. After re-

tirement, Biggs said he was just naturally drawn to law enforcement.

More Biggs I Page 30

Nathan Stohosky 20 | LEGENDS | June 2016 | Idaho State Journal

Nathan Stohosky, senior conservation officer with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, holds a set of antlers taken from a poached deer near Grace.


By David ashby

athan Stohosky, senior conservation officer with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, said he encounters at least one case annually that sticks out in his mind. A memorable case occurred a few years ago and involved a poaching near Grace. One year, a local man illegally killed a deer the day before Christmas, long after the local deer hunting seasons had ended. He didn’t do it to make sure his family had a holiday meal — he did it so he could take the antlers. “The guy was interested in antlers, and that’s all he took. He just wasted the rest of the deer,” Stohosky said. Luckily, a tip to the Citizens Against Poaching hotline alerted authorities to the perpetrator, and the poacher was brought to justice. He faced multiple felonies but pleaded guilty to one of the crimes. “It’s a rewarding feeling because you’re making a difference and assisting to halt that kind of

behavior,” Stohosky said. For Stohosky, who works out of Preston, there is no routine day on the job. Sometimes he spends his time checking tags, while other times he investigates wildlife violations. On some days, he assists other law enforcement personnel in the area. But that’s the way Stohosky likes it. “The great thing about this job is the variety of work you’re dealing with,” he said. “There’s also a lot of community involvement with sporting groups, providing youth hunting and fishing events and getting people involved with the hunting tradition.” Currently, with summer in full swing, Stohosky said he spends a lot of time making sure Franklin County fishermen are in compliance and dealing with wildlife calls. It’s during this time of year when the area sees a lot of orphaned and abandoned fawns, as well as young hawks and owls. Fish and Game gets a lot of calls during this time of year with these animals coming into contact with humans. “With hawks and owls, they get to an age when they start to fly and leave the nest,” he said. “It’s not uncommon for a landowner to be

LEGENDs | June 2016 | Idaho State Journal | 21

startled to see a young hawk bouncing around their yard. They think it’s injured but it just doesn’t know how to fly yet.” But every now and then a case involving a major wildlife crime will come up. That’s when conservation officers’ jobs suddenly start resembling that of a homicide detective. “We collect our own ballistic evidence and we collect our own DNA evidence, so we have to be informed and have knowledge of all the different criminal investigation techniques to solve some of these cases,” Stohosky said. Though he currently works in Southeast Idaho, Stohosky was raised in western Oregon near Portland. Growing up, he said he like to spend a lot of time outdoors. He said his family’s favorite pastime was fishing, though they sporadically went hunting when they drew tags. Stohosky made his way to the Gem State to attend the University of Idaho, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in range livestock management. Soon after he graduated, he took a job as a conservation officer with Idaho Fish

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“The great thing about this job is the variety of work you’re dealing with.” and Game, where he has worked for the past 11 years. He resides in Preston with his wife, Pamela. The couple is expecting their first child in September. As Franklin County is home to phenomenal deer and elk hunting, Stohosky said he has recently taken up bowhunting. Though he hasn’t been successful with a bow and arrow just yet, he hopes to get his bull elk very soon.

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Joni ramirez 22 | LEGENDS | June 2016 | Idaho State Journal

Bingham county sherifF’s office


By Kendra Evensen

oni Ramirez was on a waiting list to get into a licensed practical nurse program when she decided to get a temporary job at the Bingham County jail. Nine years later, she’s still working in the same location. “I loved it so much, I stuck with it,” Ramirez said. Today, she’s a sergeant who supervises a crew of deputies as

well as the inmates at the jail. Although there’s a lot she enjoys about her work, Ramirez said it’s not always easy. She and others try to make a positive difference in the lives of the inmates, and it’s hard when they see repeat offenders return to the jail, she said. It’s particularly hard to see those struggling with drug addictions. “(You see the) hold it takes on people. It destroys families and lives,” she said. “It’s a cycle (we) see over and over.” Ramirez also recalls a male inmate who committed suicide while she was at work. Getting through that experience was one of the toughest times of her career, she said. She said it was frustrating that even though they had safeguards in place, they weren’t able to prevent the man from taking his life. “You feel in a sense that you failed that person in a way (even if there was) nothing you could have done,” she stated. “That’s never a good feeling. It’s hard on the officers. Everybody involved in that situation took it hard.” Although the job can be challenging both mentally and physically, Ramirez says she still enjoys what she does and the people she works with have become like a second family to her. “That’s the biggest thing that’s kept me there,” she said, adding that she works not only with the other employees in the jail, but also city and county officers and dispatchers, and they help each other during emergency situations and personal difficulties. “That team unity with each other I’ve really enjoyed.”

More ramirez I Page 30

LEGENDs | June 2016 | Idaho State Journal | 23

John Canfield P

By Debbie Bryce For the Journal

ower County Sgt. John Canfield said the best part of his job is being able to work and serve the community that he grew up in. Canfield joined the Power County Sheriff’s Office in 1999. “In my whole life, there have only been two sheriffs in Power County, and I’ve worked for them both,” Canfield said. Canfield’s family has a long-standing history

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of law enforcement service: His brother Moe retired from the Pocatello Police Department, his sister-in-law worked for the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office, and his niece is a dispatcher.

More Canfield I Page 25

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Vollmer/ from Page 13 “Technology has evolved significantly,” she said. “Our job is more dependent upon technology than it ever has been — to both the good and the bad.” Whether it’s the increased popularity in social media and Facebook groups such as Cop Block, nowadays there seems to be a weekly reports of police abusing power or acting corrupt. In many cases, only small segments of disturbing videos are shown, which does very little to provide context for each individual instance. “It’s bad because of what people can do with it,” she

said. “There’s so much good in technology. The unfortunate thing is there’s so many people who use it for bad reasons.” Over 30 years, a detective such as Vollmer has seen hundreds, maybe thousands, of cases, many of which blend together after the years. When asked for a particular case that stuck out, or one that was most memorable,

Vasquez/from Page 18 “All the resources were available right then and now and it really helped,” he stated. One child and his father floated down stream and were rescued, sheriff’s officials said at that time. The other child was trapped under the boat for roughly 20 minutes, but he was also rescued. The father of that child and a nearby citizen were able to maneuver the boat to where responders could reach him. All four victims were transported to the hospital and everyone but the latter child was treated and released that night. The boy who was trapped was also recently released and was expected to make a full recovery, according to sheriff’s officials. “It’s a miracle,” Vasquez said, adding that only about 3 percent of those who’ve been trapped in cold water for that amount of time make a full recovery. “We don’t get those very often. Usually, we’re too late to the game so we’re very

Vollmer paused for a moment and eventually conceded. “It’s hard,” she said. “There’s so many cases that you see, so many bad things and you wished people never had to go through that. Since they have to for whatever reason, it’s a good thing to be there and help them through it. You got to do what you got to do.”

excited (and feel) blessed.” Vasquez said it’s crucial to have a victims out of the water within an hour’s time, and because of a lack of cellphone service and witnesses and flowing waters that can move the victims, it can be hard for responders to find them within that amount of time. He estimates that the sheriff’s office and fire department handle between five and 10 water emergencies a year. While they train for such emergencies on a regular basis, Vasquez encourages boaters to also do everything they can to prepare for such an incident. People should not only have emergency equipment accessible on board, but they should also be dressed appropriately for the weather, he said. That’s especially true in June, when the water is still cold and moving fast because of runoff. “Plan on the worst case scenario and if it doesn’t happen, fantastic. If it does, you’re prepared,” Vasquez said.

LEGENDs | June 2016 | Idaho State Journal | 25

Canfield/from Page 23 “I always respected law enforcement, but I wasn’t sure that this is what I wanted to do,” Canfield said. Canfield works in the jail, and he oversees the skilled labor program that allows inmates to work in the community to pay off fines and shorten their time. He also helps with the Power County Marine Patrol and with boat registration in the county, which is spread along the American Falls Reservoir. A native of American Falls and a 1982 graduate of Power County, Canfield said he often runs into inmates he went to school with. “I just treat them like I would anyone else,” Canfield said. During his tenure with the sheriff’s office, he said the biggest change has been efforts and technology to increase safety on the job. “The remodel at the jail has been really nice,”

he said. “We’ve also added another officer.” The current mental health crisis has also affected Power County and presents challenges on the job and at the jail. “We need to better means of taking care of people with mental illness,” Canfield said. Canfield said there are some perks working for a smaller agency, and the people he works with reinforce that he’s in the right position. “There are new challenges every day, but I really like the people I work with,” Canfield said. “I guess because we’re a smaller agency, we’re like a family.” Canfield has three grown children, and when he’s not on the job he said he enjoys sports, and he likes to fish. He will retire in 10 years, and Canfield said that while law enforcement was a late career choice, it was the right choice. “Right now, I wouldn’t want to do anything else,” Canfield said. “It’s a good career. I’m glad I’m able to serve in the community that I grew up in.”

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Flores/from Page 10 She never knows what is going to happen when she goes into work, and no two calls for service are ever the same, she said. Still, she finds the fast-paced work exciting and rewarding — especially when she can make a difference for those who need help. “As a 911 dispatcher, you (have) the opportunity to make an impressionable impact on someone’s life which is extremely rewarding,” she said. That’s one of the reasons why Flores has

Infanger/from Page 11 “As a kid, I was fascinated watching cops on motorcycles helping people and arresting the bad guys,” he said. “This show stuck with me, and as soon as I was old enough, I made the plan to become a cop, and that’s what I did.” Before entering the police force, Infanger served one four-year tour in Iraq as a U.S. Marine. He said the exposure provided him with invaluable experience and preparedness for his current role. “It helped tremendously,” he said. “With this job you see a lot of negative things in a day and the Marines helped me overcome or be better prepared for some of those.” Though it’s part of the job description, Infanger enjoys being there for people when they need someone the most. His single mother did her best to raise him and his four siblings, which included traveling through many different states looking for work. “I grew up all over as a kid in several different states,” he said. “I got to see police officers and meet some throughout my life in different areas. I got to see different aspects, and I always appreciated the officers that took the time to be a part of somebody’s life.” Because of this, his personal goal both in uniform and outside of work is to pay it forward. He and others at the Blackfoot Police Department are big into giving back to the community.

stuck with the job for so long. She started as a part-time employee in 1995 and began working full time soon after. Twenty years later, she’s still taking emergency calls and dispatching responders, and she still enjoys her work. “Knowing that I am providing a critical service which provides for the safety and wellbeing of my friends, family and community is again, extremely rewarding. It can be a demanding yet challenging profession,” she said, but added that she has made lifetime friends through her work over the years. “I can’t even begin to imagine myself in another career.” “I participate in the Santa’s Helpers program, and I enjoy the Christmas Tree Fantasy where we buy a Christmas tree, decorate it and then it gets auctioned off for the Bingham Crisis Center or Animal Shelter,” he said. “The money goes to all these local charities to assist our community.” Additionally, he added that growing up as a kid with a single mother he didn’t always have much, and being able to contribute now and see the difference has done tremendous things for him. Being a police officer can at times be a thankless career. It’s seldom that an officer is thanked or congratulated by a person on the street, especially as police continue to receive national criticism for abuse, brutality and corruption. “I try not to let it bug me,” he said. “There are bad apples in every profession, and it’s hard not to take it personally because a whole group of people are being blamed.” Over his four years, one particular case has stuck with Infanger, mostly because he was able to see a conviction in the end. He responded to a child-abuse call in which a baby had been beaten badly enough that it was seizing because of hemorrhaging in the brain. After arresting the suspect, he rushed to the hospital to be with the baby as it received assistance and underwent necessary testing. “The rewarding side is seeing the conviction, which was the parent,” he said. “We got parental rights removed, and the baby is doing as good as can be expected with its new adopted family.”

LEGENDs | June 2016 | Idaho State Journal | 27

Hymas/from Page 12 In addition to working for law enforcement, Hymas is also a member of the Army Reserves. He originally intended to become active duty. However, at the time, the Army was downsizing after a decline in necessary officer positions, but he was undeterred. “Weekend warriors are what they call us,” he said. “We spend Saturday and Sunday going over different trainings, and two and three weeks out the summer we may travel to California, Jersey or Wisconsin to complete more extensive training in a field environment.” Hymas lost his father to cancer nearly six years ago, but he credits him for instilling the importance of work and education. His parents had a huge impact on his decision to obtain a career centered on helping others. “Career-wise, there was a sheriff’s deputy who attended our church, and I always thought it was cool the way he carried himself,” he said. Composure and the ability to make split-

second decisions are integral parts of the job description for members of law enforcement. In one particular instance — one in which Hymas takes to heart — both of these characteristics were put to the test. A call came in on the radio that an individual was driving the wrong direction on the interstate between Pocatello and American Falls. Stationed just miles away, Hymas flipped directions and began searching for the vehicle. While in pursuit, he discovered an overturned vehicle in the median between interstates. Rather than continue the search, he decided to pull over and assist. He discovered a small child and his mother in the car. The cause of the accident was the driver heading the wrong direction, and upon seeing headlights, the mother overcorrected, resulting in the vehicle rolling. “Obviously my first priority was to find this wrong-way driver,” he said. “But when you come up on a crash, you don’t know where the one-way driver is or if someone is dying in the car, so priorities change immediately.”

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Smith/from Page 15 Smith said working with the people he grew up with is the best part of the job, but he said people’s attitude toward law enforcement has changed. “I think it’s because of social media,” Smith said. “It’s not as bad here as it is in other places, but the attitude toward the police is different now with some people. People tend to forget that we’re human, too.” He admits that the job of a law enforcement official is dangerous, but he said he feels well trained and well prepared for whatever situation unfolds. Witnessing and responding to traumatic and tragic events is part of the job, and Smith said he deals with it by talking to his fellow officers.

peterson/from Page 3 “As a parent, you’re proud your kids would want to follow after you,” he said. “It’s a noble profession, so I knew they were doing something good. But I also understood the dangers associated with the job.” Pocatello has seen a resurgence in both drugs as well as violent crime, which in the opinion of many law enforcement officials, including Peterson, are issues that go hand in hand. Peterson remembers a time in the late 1990s, early 2000s — a time he worked narcotics. Methamphetamine use and manufacturing labs were the area’s largest concern. “Now it’s the opiates and the heroin,” he said. “I don’t want to say that all crimes stem from drugs, but a lot of them do. When I was working dope back in the ’90s. I used to say, ‘Everybody has either used meth, knows somebody who has used meth, has a meth lab in their neighborhood, or has been touched by a crime involving meth.’ And heroin is that way today.” In addition to drug use crippling many in Pocatello, Peterson believes people with mental health problems — which in some cases could also stem from drug use — are a major focus for local law enforcement.

“We have a great support system in Power County,” Smith said. Smith said the law enforcement in the county and the city of American Falls is a tight-knit community that works together closely and often. When he’s not on duty, Smith said he enjoys fishing, hunting and working out at Gold’s Gym in Pocatello. In fact, access to the gym is why Smith opts to reside in the Gate City and commute to Power County. He became interested in weight training in ninth grade, and it quickly became a passion. But Troy said his future is in Power County. He plans to stay with the office and promote up the ranks. “I can’t imagine anything that I would rather be doing,” Smith said. Regardless of the type of call, he said that he and others at the department do their best to treat suspects, victims and other parties with compassion. “We preach within this department that we are part of the community,” he said. “We’re not separate from the community, and when we go on a call, we treat people like it was our family — like we would want our family to be treated.” Over the years, Peterson excelled through the ranks. He is currently second in command behind only Chief of Police Scott Marchand. His sentiment echoed respect for Marchand as the two joined the police force right around the same time. “I set some goals for myself throughout my career, which keeps you going,” he said. “When I started off as a patrolman, I remember them telling me in the interview that I wasn’t going to be chief overnight.” When asked if he at any time felt that he fell just short of what he was striving so hard to achieve, you could see his resilience as he fought back emotion. “To be honest with you, yeah I do feel like I fell a little short,” he said. “I’ve come to peace with it, and I’m OK. It’s taken me awhile, but I’ve learned this job and what I do here doesn’t define who I am.”

LEGENDs | June 2016 | Idaho State Journal | 29

Willis/from Page 14 He remembers a time before Public Safety carried handguns and tasers, a time where their only protection was a collapsible baton and pepper spray. “That was a huge change,” he said. “We’ve always gone to law enforcement training, and we’ve always been certified in arrest techniques and patrol procedures, but when the guns on campus stuff started, everything changed. It was something I honestly never thought would happen — at least while I was working here.” Within the last few months, Public Safety promoted Willis to training coordinator. He oversees every aspect of training from drug and alcohol enforcement to presentations on shots fired or sexual assault cases. From an early age, Willis understood the concept of actions and consequences, and although neither of his parents were involved with law enforcement, he grew up looking up

to police officers in his community. Willis has seen it all during his eight-year tenure with public safety — from building fires to intoxicated transients causing a disturbance — but one case has stuck with him over the years. “We had a girl call her parents and told them she was going to end her life,” he said. “I’d only been here a year and we searched all over and couldn’t find her.” Eventually, Willis recommended they should verify she wasn’t up near the pillars atop Red Hill. “That was the only place we hadn’t checked,” he said. “When we got there, she was in pretty bad shape. She had definitely taken some stuff.” After calling in emergency medical services who escorted her to the hospital, he returned to the office. “Her mom and dad sought me out a couple hours later and thanked me for it,” he said. “Law enforcement is a pretty thankless job, so it really resonates when someone does go out of their way to thank us.”

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Biggs/ from Page 19 “I just wanted to serve,” said Biggs. “There’s something about a uniform and the camaraderie you have with others in uniform.” He has now worked in law enforcement for 16 years and has reached his dream position as a school resource officer. “I just always wanted to work with the youth,” said Biggs. “So when I joined I knew I wanted to be a school resource officer. After 13 years, now I get to do that.”

Biggs serves as the resource officer for all of Preston School District so he gets to work with kids from kindergarten up to seniors in high school. He also helps out with the high school football team. “It’s just nice to be a part of the community,” said Biggs. Aside from all that, Biggs also helps out on the newly formed Southeast Idaho SWAT Team. He works as a sniper but also helps with entries when needed. “It’s always challenge,” said Biggs. “Every shift, every day you’re doing something different.”

Bloxham/from Page 6 “My school resource officer in seventh grade is the reason I’m a cop today,” she said. “He was always the one to catch me. He mentored me through that rough patch, and even after I was out of junior high he came, and checked on me to make sure I was doing OK.” She was adamant about her dislike for both the use and distribution of drugs in the community and is passionate about getting as much of it off the streets as she can. “It’s like adult hide and seek,” she said. “I go and find drugs all the time. Heroin is getting really big right now, especially with the younger generations. I’m not saying that arresting people for drugs every single day is the solution. Some people say rehabilitation is the solution, and I don’t know that it’s not, but you can’t rehabilitate someone who doesn’t want to be.” Drugs are known to generate other crimes, and Bloxham said that people who do drugs commit other crimes such as burglary. She herself has been a victim of a burglary that she

Ramirez/ from Page 22 Ramirez said she also appreciates the sheriff, chief deputy and captain who believe family comes first and are willing to work with her and others’ scheduling needs. That’s important to her because she is not only a sergeant but also a mother of four children. While Ramirez enjoys the opportunity to work at the jail, she hopes her efforts are also making a difference there. “I always set a high standard for myself to be a great leader,” she said, adding that she strives to set the kind of example that other deputies can follow.

knew was drug-related. According to her, almost 90 percent of burglaries in town are narcotic-related. “If you can stop the influx of narcotic use and distribution in town, then you can hopefully stop burglaries and other victimless crimes,” she said. She recalled one occasion where a woman repeatedly told her she was going to change and then two weeks later she arrested them again. On another call, she stopped a woman who had seven hypodermic needles on her person. After testing positive for drugs, she arrested her. She knows she’s making a difference and appreciates when she does receive the occasional thanks on the job. “To have people approach me and tell me that I helped them means so much,” she said. “I can tell that they’re sober. They’ve gained weight, and they look healthy, and to hear them say thanks is one of the most rewarding feelings ever. I love it, whether it’s a man, woman or child.”

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Profile for Idaho State Journal

Legends of Law Enforcement 2016  

Legends of Law Enforcement 2016