BY TOM BUSSELBERG
FARMINGTON — Capt. Kenneth “Kenny” Payne’s law enforcement career probably spanned as many years as almost anyone.
After nearly 45 years, the captain and veteran of the Sheriff’s Office turned in his badge and uniform earlier this week.
Payne’s career path is not what he ever expected, he told the Davis County Commission Tuesday, as part of a brief recognition ceremony.
He had just returned to his Syracuse home from an LDS mission to France. Before leaving Europe, his mother flew there to be with him and a brother who was in the Air Force in England, he recalled.
“My mother asked me to go get the horses” upon returning home, Payne said. They were being boarded at the late sheriff Ken Hammon’s place down the road.
When Hammon found out Payne had no job lined up, he suggested a visit to the sheriff’s office to observe how the dispatch operation went.
After two days and eight hours of observation, Payne wasn’t told if he had a job.
“I felt kind of dejected. A got a call at 11:30 p.m. (after he’d gone to bed) from the sheriff suggesting I ought to see what the graveyard shift is like,” he recalled.
That night deputy was responsible for the jail, and he didn’t even know where it was.
Since getting hired, Payne said he’s held every job in the department but sheriff, and current Sheriff Todd Richardson is the ninth.
Payne said coordinating the implementation of 911 and enhanced 911 service as a career highlight, and also enjoyed working in the crime lab.
“It’s pretty hard to believe someone has been able to devote that much time to the county,” said County Commissioner John Petroff.
He’s known Payne for at least 30 years, when his firm, the old JP Texaco in Clearfield, starting towing vehicles wrecked in accidents.
“For 37 years he was a medical examiner for the county,” Petroff recalled of Payne. “People don’t realize the stress, personal anguish people have to go through” in such circumstances, the commissioner said.
Payne, a Syracuse native, and his wife Donna’s short-range goals include a trip to Tennessee to see his oldest sister, now 88. He also enjoys making things in his workshop and will intensify efforts on a multi-page “to-do” list.
The couple has two children: Logan Payne, who is carrying on the Sheriff’s Department tradition, currently working as a resource officer at West Point Junior High. Their daughter, Tiffany Payne Forsgren, works in the Health Department’s Senior Services division.