Civil servant follows in his father’s footsteps in law enforcement

Matt Barnes will be with the Mesquite Police Department for 23 years in November. He started in detention and worked there for 12 years. Barnes then became an impound officer until 2016, when he became a civil servant.

How did you get into your profession?

I have to say it’s kind of a family business. My father was a police officer for 37 years. He retired in 2016. When I grew up I knew that was what I wanted to do. Even though I am not a police officer, I still feel that I am fully involved in law enforcement just like anyone else.

What has been your greatest career moment to date?

I think it was the transition to the professional position of the public service. We do a lot of things. Our main goal is to help police officers with minor calls and some emergency calls, so that they can be more readily available to handle some of the more serious emergencies. We patrol and help people on the side of the road who run out of gas or have a flat tire and stuff like that. It’s really nice to be that ray of sunshine when people have car trouble, and we’re able to help them get back on the road, so they can go where they need to go. It’s gratifying to be on the street and answer certain calls. I really like.

Which city are you from?

I’m from Forney, Texas, and have spent most of my life there. For about a year and a half I lived in Mesquite in an apartment, but had to return to Forney. There is nothing wrong with Mesquite, but I didn’t like being in an apartment. Other than that, I’ve been there my whole life. I went to school, graduated and still am today.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

I really enjoy hunting and fishing in the open air. Some of my fondest childhood memories were growing up with my dad taking me hunting and fishing – just being outside. In my words, we called it the stag lease, and that’s where I learned to operate a shifter. My dad put me in the old jeep when I was 12, 13, and 14, and I was there driving a jeep around the property looking for deer and keeping our deer lease going. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. It was one of the best times of my life.

What is your favorite restaurant in Mesquite?

I am a foodie. I love my food, but if I had to pick the best I would say it’s Johnny Carino’s. There aren’t many around here. There was one in Mesquite. The closest is in Waxahachie. Last year for my birthday I wanted Johnny Carino’s so we made the trip to Waxahachie to get some, and this is my favorite. I love Italian and Cajun cuisine.

what is your favorite movie?

I’m going to have to bring out my nerdy side. I am a huge Star Wars fan and love Marvel. Whether it’s Star Wars or Marvel, I don’t care.

What are your hobbies?

If you ask my wife she will say I have a lot of hobbies. I like hunting and fishing. I love Woodstock. I like to build and tinker with things. It’s an unlimited list. I hunt with a gun and with a bow and arrows. I’m really involved with it. I like to be with my family. That’s what makes it a good thing. Like with my dad, I take my kids out, and we do the same things that I did with my dad, and it’s really nice.

Do you prefer to hunt with a bow and arrows or a rifle?

I mainly hunt deer and hog hunting, and for a very long time it was only rifle hunting. In the past 10 years, I got into bow hunting, and have been bow hunting for quite some time. Now my son is 13 and I have given him more archery opportunities. I have a crossbow now, and we’ve done more.

If you were on a desert island, what is the one thing you couldn’t live without?

Actually, I would say I should have a good knife. If I had a good knife with me, I could carve and craft whatever I need to help myself survive. Although something I couldn’t live without … I love my Dr Pepper. There is something to be said about a Dr Pepper with a Reese Mug. It’s my favorite snack.

Tell our readers something about you they would never guess to be true.

I’m an old softie. I’m 6 feet four inches tall and about 280 ponds. I’m a big, cranky guy sometimes. My wife and kids are laughing at me because I’m going to get into a movie, and something is going to touch me. I’m going to cry in front of a movie, and my wife and kids are going to start laughing because we’ve seen the movie a hundred times, but it will always have me every time.