Home News BEHIND THE BADGE: Staying detached a difficulty of police work

BEHIND THE BADGE: Staying detached a difficulty of police work


Oct. 29–GOSHEN

A handmade poster with signatures from children at the Boys & Girls Club of Goshen hangs on a wall in the home of Matthew Yoder.

A patrol officer with the Goshen Police Department for 11 years, Yoder said he put the poster near his gear where he can see it everyday while getting ready for work.

“It was signed by all the kids along with an award that five of us from the department received last year,” Yoder said. “Every single kid shook our hand or gave us a fist bump. That was pretty touching to have them do that for us.”

How did Yoder become involved in law enforcement?

Yoder served in the Navy and knew that “wouldn’t be my career,” he said. “However, I did take some classes (law enforcement) on base.”

He became a corrections officer first with the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department. For two of the six years he was a corrections officer, Yoder also was a reserve officer with the Goshen Police Department.

“It had its highlights,” Yoder said, laughing. “I arrested a guy while I was working reserve and then I booked him into the jail that night. It did take him awhile to figure it out and that was entertaining. I tended to see the same people on the road as well as inside the jail.”

Yoder said he didn’t intend to be a corrections officer for the duration of his career.

“It’s a pretty rough job but I learned how to interact with people,” he said.

He became a full-time patrolman with the department in March 2004 and was appointed to the Emergency Response Team (ERT) four years later. During his years on the ERT team, Yoder has been a blue team leader and a less lethal instructor.

The Emergency Response Team has two identical teams, red and blue, which allows for multiple entries at the same time if needed, Yoder explained.

He said he is certified to teach the members in the items used by the ERT called less lethal, which are diversionary devices such as flash bangs or ones that give off smoke for entry-type police procedures.

Yoder has worked the first, second and third shifts during his years on the force and prefers the day-shift to have a semi-normal schedule.

“Every shift has its pros and cons, though,” he said.

What does he consider the best and worst aspects of law enforcement?

The best — helping somebody resolve something in their life.

The worst — not being able to stay detached after some happenings that he has encountered during the years.

“I try to be detached but I’m not always able …,” he said, shaking his head. “Anything with kids or dogs gets to me. Sometimes it can be aggravating and/or heartbreaking but I have to do my job and can’t focus on it.”

His job as a patrol officer can be difficult, distressing and stressful.

“It can be mentally draining. I’m always watching while driving,” Yoder said, “or I can be talking to somebody while on calls or responding to calls. My mind is always going full speed.”

So in order to keep his life in balance, Yoder enjoys biking and riding roller coasters with his family.

“It’s good stuff,” Yoder said, about roller coasters. “The best ones are at Cedar Point and we try to go as often as we can.”

Matthew Yoder

Goshen Police Department

Rank: Patrolman

Shift: Days

Began full-time duty: March 5, 2004

Prior: Worked as a reserve officer

Enjoys: Spending time with family


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