The September 11th terrorist attack left our country in shambles, but that event left Matthew Barnes with a sense of urgency to serve his county.
“I was in high school when the towers were hit, so I got to see military personnel on TV,” Barnes said. “That moment really made an impact on me and what I wanted to do. Joining the military just felt like the right thing to do.”
After serving in the military, the Vicksburg native could not see himself doing anything else besides serving. Barnes then made the decision to join the Vicksburg Police Department.
“My favorite part of being at the police department is working in Narcotics,” he said.
Barnes is a K-9 officer for the department with his partner, four-year-old Belgian Malinois Nadia.
“Nadia is amazing. She’s a part of our family. She’s so much more than just a pet. She’s my partner,” he said.
Barnes has been with the department for 5 years and Nadia has been Barnes’ partner for nearly two years.
Barnes is thirty-three and married to Warren County E-911 dispatcher, Samantha. In total the couple shares their home with five children.
Although Barnes was raised in Vicksburg, he was actually born in Korea and was adopted as a baby.
“My dad works for the US Corps of Engineers, and my parents adopted me and my non-biological sister and brought us to Vicksburg,” Barnes said.
Barnes said he was adopted as a baby, does not remember Korea, and is thankful for his parents and Vicksburg.
“Vicksburg is all I’ve ever known, and it is truly home for me.” he said.
Recently, Barnes was recognized by the City of Vicksburg for his heroic efforts in saving a driver that passed out while driving. Barnes witnessed the incident and was able to stop the car, bust the window out, and get the driver the medical attention needed.
“I’m really not one to be front and center,” Barnes said.
Barnes is thankful he was put there to save a life, but he does not consider himself a hero.
“In the military, I’ve seen friends pass away,” Barnes said. “They are the true heroes because they made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and the first responders that have passed and made that sacrifice for their community are the heroes,” Barnes said.
With all the negativity surrounding the law enforcement community these days, Barnes believes the good officers outweigh the bad.
“People talk negatively about police officers, but the majority of us are seriously trying to make a difference in our communities and trying to make the world a better place,” Barnes said. “Of course, there may be some bad apples out there, but for the most part we truly are all here for the right reasons.”