Originally Published: May 15, 2011 9:44 p.m.
Reserve Prescott Valley Police Officer Nick Fournier, a Central Yavapai firefighter, graduated Thursday from the Northern Arizona Regional Training Academy (NARTA) as the first graduate certified as a firefighter, paramedic and police officer, said commander John Russell of the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office's detention services division.
Fournier was among 33 graduates of NARTA's Class 30 newly sworn in as law enforcement officers before their family and friends at Yavapai College's Performance Hall.
"I really have the ultimate respect for police officers. I'm grateful they protect and serve," Fournier said. "I'm glad I went through the training so I could see it from the other side now."
Fournier said he had thought about becoming a police officer when he was younger, but an older brother became a firefighter and he followed in his footsteps. He noted that people are usually happy to see firefighters, but don't always look forward to seeing a police officer.
"People forget that officers are doing their job, and part of their job is to protect people," Fournier said.
Fournier said he is looking forward to working as a SWAT medic.
The Prescott Valley Police Department has had a good working relationship with the Central Yavapai Fire District for many years, said Prescott Valley Police Lt. James Edelstein, so when the department decided to add a medic to SWAT, they wanted to go about it the best way possible.
"We knew he was going to be in situations where he'd need to protect himself and others around him while performing his duties, so we determined he needed the best training, and that was as a fully certified law enforcement officer," Edelstein said.
Fournier, a reserve Prescott Valley police officer, will continue to serve as a Central Yavapai firefighter and paramedic and will be deployed with SWAT when needed, Edelstein said.
Outgoing Central Yavapai Fire Chief Mike Parrish said the district plans to provide the same training to other firefighters as the budget and time allows so that there is a SWAT medic available on all three shifts.
"Fournier wanted to do it," Parrish said, about attending NARTA to work with SWAT. "He was our No. 1 choice."
After Buzz Fournier pinned the Prescott Valley Police badge on his youngest son, he said he was very proud of Nick and very excited for him.
"I was kind of surprised when I found out he's the first and only all-in-one firefighter, paramedic and policeman," said Pattie Fournier, Nick's mother.
Fournier said he was elected class guide.
"He was in charge of getting the class to and from a certain place by marching correctly," said Prescott Valley Police Officer Arlene Lucero, an instructor at NARTA. "He also made sure the class's uniforms were pressed and cleaned and ready for inspections at all times. He did a super job and all of the elected class officials did an extremely good job. They were all great leaders."
Fournier's sister, Kim Barger, hugged him at the end of the ceremony and said she was proud of her youngest brother.
"I'm No. 1 of the kids and Nick's No. 10. We've always said I'm the cake, and Nick's the frosting," Barger said.