A few years ago, we wrote a wild yarn entitled "I Dunnit," about a Kentucky knucklehead named James Mullins who confessed to a murder he didn't commit -- the first known homicide victim of the infamous Baseline Killer.
reporting the piece (that's the cover illustration from the story), we dealt with Tempe police Sergeant Dan Masters, then the public-information officer for the agency.
It was a delicate situation: We were onto something fairly momentous, and the outcome wasn't looking pretty for Tempe PD.
Usually in similar situations, cop shops and other agencies hunker down, stonewall, play public-records games, and otherwise engage in all manner of spin-control.
But not Sergeant Masters.
He was upfront and helpful, even after it became obvious that we were going to slice and dice lead detective in the Mullins case, which we did.
In 2006, Masters won a Best of Phoenix award from us. Here's what we wrote about him then.
This morning, we read a piece about Sergeant Masters written in the Arizona Republic by Bill Richardson, a retired Mesa cop who is a freelancer.
On May 25, Masters, who has been back on the streets as a supervisor for a few years, and Officers Frank and Steve Razo performed heroically in evacuating a three-story apartment building during a major fire.
Instead of using a bullhorn to order residents out, the officers entered the burning building and roused those still in their homes.
Masters went by himself up to the top floor to try to deal with a terrified and aggressive pit bull who was keeping residents from leaving and firefighters from doing their jobs.
Not sure from Richardson's account, what happened to the dog, but we do know that the weight of the water on the roof caused it to collapse on the sarge.
Masters long has been known as a cool head under pressure, and he sure was this time, successfully struggling to free himself from the smoldering debris and making his way down the stairs to safety.
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He was rushed to the hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and a head injury that thankfully turned out not to be serious.
We know, Sergeant Masters was just doing his job and that's what he gets paid for and all that stuff.
But having known him as stand-up, it's the least we can do to take moment here to thank him for his service and to wish him the very best.