Matt Brown, spokesperson for the Springfield Police Department, announced today Monday that he is leaving his post for his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann has this report.
Serving his community and country is what Matt Brown says he always wanted to do. Brown has been with the Springfield Police Department for the last 13 years, six of those years as spokesperson.
“Ever since I was a little kid, you know when you see a police officer for a first time, that newness, that sense of awe goes kind of away for most kids, but it never did for me. And I’ve always wanted to be a police office. I’ve grown up in Springfield; I’ve been here my entire life,” says Brown.
Brown says that although he has enjoyed his post as the “face and voice” of the SPD, he has missed being out on the streets and serving the citizens directly on the front lines. Brown also serves his country in the National Guard, and has done so even longer than he has been a police officer.
“I’ve been in the Army National Guard for right at 18 years. Started out as an NCO [noncommissioned officer], made it up to sergeant, and then decided I wanted to become an officer, and went through officer candidate school. And since then I’ve been on the officer side of the fence. Just progressed my way up the ranks. I’m currently a captain and commander of a National Guard unit here in Missouri; Combat Engineers,” Brown says.
He says this is his second deployment overseas, and anticipates being on assignment for around 18 months this tour. Brown says his wife and three children are prepared for his departure, and will be awaiting his safe return.
“It’s harder and easier in ways. It’s harder because I’ve only been back for a couple of years. The cycle of going back, for National Guard soldiers, is usually four to five years. So for me this is quicker. So that’s harder on them. But, because they’ve been through this before they know what to expect. They know what feelings and emotions they went through last time, they know what I am going to go through. So that part makes it easier,” says Brown.
Brown says he will miss working with the media, as has worked closely with KSMU and others for the last six years. He says it has been an honor to be able to connect with the public, even if in a small way, and better educate the community about the SPD. Brown looks forward to returning to the department as a uniformed officer working the streets after his tour of duty is complete.