Behind the Badge -- Sergeant Damon Despain
I grew up in Queen Creek when it was still a rural farming community. Living on several acres of land, my four siblings and I got to learn the value of hard work while taking care of horses, pigs, goats, chickens, and more. I live in a rural area today and enjoy having some outdoor space.
Why I Decided to Become a Police Officer
My first job as a teenager was operating heavy equipment on a rock crusher. I obtained a Class A commercial driver license when I turned 18 and was considering a career in construction or as a mechanic. At 20 years old, I changed career paths and started my own business that I grew for a few years while attending college classes at night. When one of my employees told me that he was going to test to become a police officer, I decided I was going to test with him. I had two uncles who were police officers and a good friend that had taken me on some ride-alongs. Having a job that changes from day to day and a career path that can change from year to year is what appealed to me the most at that time.
My Journey in the Tempe Police Department
I have worked for the Tempe Police Department for 17 years. The variety of the job has not disappointed. I have been a patrol officer, field training officer, school resource officer, and recruit training officer. Since promoting to Sergeant in 2013, I have worked as a patrol sergeant, academy sergeant, and in my current assignment with the mounted unit and bike squad. I am also a member of the Crisis Negotiations Team and Incident Response Team.
Police officers often encounter people during their worst times. I take pride in treating people with respect while helping them through those tough times. That might mean working hard to seek justice for a victim, showing compassion when delivering a death notification, or just treating an arrested suspect with dignity.
I enjoy spending time with my wife and our three children. We are always busy with various sports, gymnastics, and with church. We spend a lot of time with extended family and like to take vacations. I like to get away to cooler places and really enjoy snowboarding.
I have very much enjoyed my career to this point and plan on working many more years. I am especially grateful for the outstanding group of people I get to serve with at the Tempe Police Department.