SPRINGVILLE, Utah (ABC4 News) – Springville Police Officer Mike Stanton’s path to police work actually got started in Orem.

“One of my best friends growing up – Corporal James Vance – I was on a ride along with him. We went for an awesome little pursuit – he got into.”

And after that experience, the construction business owner realized he wanted to be a cop.

“The amount of adrenaline you have – the fun you have – and you go ‘good grief – you get paid for this?’ And so, it was like – ‘I got to do this.'”

So, at the age of 32, Stanton went to the police academy, graduated and put on the badge full-time.

“We spend 80 percent of the time in our cars patrolling the city doing interactions with the public and it’s never the same day. I’ve never had the same day in the eight years I’ve been here.”

Officer Stanton says the unpredictable element of police work is something he absolutely thrives on.

“I enjoy going to work – every day is a different day.”

While Officer Stanton spends most of the time on patrol – he keeps busy working on the Utah County Metro Swat Team.

But he says one of his favorite parts of the job is interacting with the public – especially the kids. “

I see the little kids I make every effort to go say hey, how’s it going? Talk to em. Just cause of the influences I had as a kid.”

One of those influences was an officer he met after his Stanton’s father was shot and killed in New Orleans when Stanton was just nine-years-old.

“A guy pulled up alongside him at a convenience store and shot him six times. We ended up watching him die right there. With all the bullet holes and everything in the car.”

Stanton says one of the officers on the scene came over and tried to consul him. And he just kept telling me ‘you’re going to be alright – you’ll be alright.'”

He says that the same officer then came by to one of his basketball games.

“He showed up at half time in his plain clothes walked over and I remember getting a Gatorade (from him) and he said you’re going to be alright, you’re going to have a good game. And I never saw him again. It kind of made me who I am. You know you go through all these different events in your life and it kind of creates who you are.”

Another part of who Officer Stanton is – came from boxing. He fought amateur then he had two professional bouts out on the East Coast. He won both and then came back to Utah and focused on construction work. Started up MJS Construction in Springville. However, he stills uses some of that boxing training when he’s on the job.

“When you’re interacting with suspects and arrestees you’re about to arrest – you watch their body language – you see – OK – is he moving – his demeanor – is he tensing up. Is he ready to fight?”

Most days he isn’t in that type of situation, but he says when it comes to police work, anything can happen. “You never know what you are going to get or see or do or whose life you’re going to impact. It’s a fun job.”

Back in May 2015, Officer Stanton made a big impact on a man’s life. You see – while off duty he says he noticed people looking at something.

“I look back and I see black smoke in the air. So, I flip around in my personal car.” He quickly arrived at a house fire. The garage is fully engulfed and you could see the black smoke coming out of the front room. So, at that time I run up to the kid on the grass and ask if anybody else in the house? And he says yes, my grandpa.”

Stanton immediately ran into the smoke-filled house. He says he could feel the heat from the fire just on the other side of the wall.

“As I was going up the stairs I could see in the very back his feet (the grandfather) – little feet – kind of walking – walking forward – so I run in there and we grab him. Get him out. Bring him out to the front and keep everyone away.”

For that act of bravery, Stanton was awarded a Medal of Valor from Springville.

To see past Behind the Badge stories and to nominate an officer for a future story: http://www.abc4.com/badge


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