A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Sgt. Matthew “Matt” Johnson

A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Sgt. Matthew “Matt” Johnson

For the last two school years, Sergeant Matthew “Matt” Johnson of the Portage Police Department has been stationed at Fegely Middle School as the school resource officer. Becoming a school resource officer wasn’t always his plan, though.

Johnson was drawn to having a career as a police officer, especially as he completed his undergraduate degree at Ball State University. He knew he had chosen the right career path when he participated in an internship that gave him a better understanding of what it was like to be a police officer.

“During my undergraduate, I did an internship with the Sheriff's Department, and we would do ride-alongs. Once I started doing those, I knew that was what I wanted to do for a career. The work fit me, and I enjoyed doing it. I liked the fact that you could walk around and that every day was something different,” Johnson said.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Johnson decided to further his education even more and earned a master's degree in public administration with a focus on criminal justice.

Before working at the Portage Police Department, Johnson worked at a juvenile detention center where he was first introduced to working with kids as an officer. 

“When I initially decided that I wanted to be a police officer, I had no inclination to be a school resource officer,” Johnson said. “While I was applying to different police departments, I was working at the juvenile detention center for two years as a detention officer. There, I started working with kids and saw the impact that you can have on them through simple things that we don't even think twice about.”

Johnson found his home with the Portage Police Department 10 years ago. He continued to harbor this passion for working with children and being a positive influence in their lives.  

“After I got hired on with the Portage Police Department as an officer, the idea of becoming a school resource officer just grew and grew. I was lucky enough to be selected and stationed at Fegely,” Johnson said.

In this role, Johnson finds fulfillment in nurturing relationships with students. He enjoys being there for them and giving them support when they need it.

“My favorite part about being a school resource officer is helping out the kids. The impact that you can have on kids, especially at this age range, is tremendous,” Johnson said.

Through his interactions with students and his genuine care for their well-being, Johnson strives to empower them to reach their full potential. He is dedicated to helping them work toward something better.

“I like to plant seeds and see if that little bit of advice or the situation we worked through grows into a plant and makes them a better person for it,” Johnson said.

When he's not working, Johnson loves spending time with his family as well as being outdoors going fishing and hiking. He also enjoys playing video games now and then.