For 25 years, Deputy Chief Matthew Summers has protected and served the City of Freeport. Recently, he celebrated that milestone anniversary.
“I got into this job to help people,” he said.
Summers started his career as a patrol deputy in 1995.
“There’s people that aren’t brave enough to stand up for themselves and do things,” he said. “So, I took it as my personal mission not to be a hero, not to do anything like that, but to be a voice for those people that need that voice.”
Summers worked his way up the professional ladder, from investigations, to shift supervisor, to lieutenant.
He became deputy chief in 2015.
“Looking back, I wish I could go back to that first day and know what I do now, and have those skills that take so long to develop,” he said.
Summers says humor keeps him grounded.
“This job can be so stressful and we see a lot of different things. If you don’t keep a sense of humor and you don’t try to have fun at what you do, it’s going to be a really long career,” he said. “Twenty years of just dealing with bad stuff, it’ll really take the life out of you.”
He says it doesn’t hurt that his close friend, Police Chief Todd Barkalow, has been with him nearly every step of the way.
“We’ve worked together throughout our career, and kind of rose up together,” Barkalow said. “It’s been a tremendous experience and honor to work with somebody of Matt’s caliber.”
Summers says he has no plans of leaving the department any time soon.
“One of the things that I want people to leave, of the impact is, that I did the job the right way. That’s a hard thing to do all the way through your career,” Summers said.
Summers said being a policeman is the greatest job in the world. If his children decide to follow in his footsteps, he plans on teaching them everything he knows to make them better officers.