December 6, 2021

Deputy Matt & Others Who Serve

The individual voices and opinions of some first responders

Deputy Matt’s “Coming-Out” Story

Sheriff Glenn Craig (L), me, and my dad (R) the day I got sworn in as a full-time deputy.

This is my badge. I get to keep it because my union buys them for us when we retire, but it will no longer have the same meaning. Looking at it right now invokes a plethora of emotions.
This is my badge. I get to keep it because my union buys them for us when we retire, but it will no longer have the same meaning. Looking at it right now invokes a plethora of emotions.

Hi there, my name is Matt Silvey.  I have been a deputy sheriff with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department since September 1996.  If you have followed me on Facebook or Twitter, you know me as Deputy Matt.  To date, I have not been able to use my real name on social media because of concerns by management that if someone in the media knew where I worked, they would try to attribute my comments to the department, which would be completely insane but you know how the media can be.  But now, I can proudly tell you where I worked, because I have decided to retire.  In fact, today (11-28-18) was my last day.

I love my department.  I am proud to wear the uniform. I love being a cop and almost everything that comes with the job, even though it is a very difficult job.  As I have gotten older, and gotten to the point that I can retire, I am much less tolerant of stupid crap.  It is that stupid crap that causes many of us to leave, and I am no exception.

My Career
Overall, I have no serious complaints about my career.  In 1996, I started working in our jail, a place I never wanted to work but after having done so, know that it is the absolute best place any new cop can work because you learn to deal with the criminal element in a semi-safe environment.  From there, because of my previous job experience in the automotive industry and my computer skills, I got a job as the assistant fleet manager for the department.  At barely three years on the department, I was working in an office five doors down from the Sheriff on the administration floor of our headquarters.  That job had a lot of perks, including a take home unmarked cop car.

My 96 year old grandfather pinning my badge on me when I got sworn is an an-call deputy
My 96 year old grandfather pinning my badge on me when I got sworn is an an-call deputy

I enjoyed fleet management, but I wanted to be a cop and was dying to get out on the streets, so on my weekends while working fleet, I would go out with my buddies who were working patrol.  One of those good friends who I rode with as often as I could was a guy named Alan.  He was a funny, energetic, quick witted shit magnet, and I learned a lot about doing good cop work from him.  Sadly, Alan had a pretty rough career and was involved in an inordinate number of shootings in a very short time frame, and he medically retired very early due to PTSD, but he and I are still friends and we talk on a fairly regular basis.

Once I was finally allowed to rotate to patrol, I hit patrol training and knew everyone there because I had been working for free a couple days a month for the previous couple years.  I breezed through training, took my test and was finalized.  I looked forward to my first day as a finalized, all on my own, brand new patrol cop.  That day was September 11, 2001.  I think you all know what day that was.  What an absolutely surreal day to have as your inaugural day as a patrol cop.

I worked patrol for the next 15 years, and I really enjoyed the job.  I was a training officer for a while, but eventually some of the BS involved with training got to me, so I quit training.  I worked as acting sergeant quite a few times, back when we used to do that.  I was directly involved in two officer involved shootings, one with my handgun early in my patrol career, and one with my rifle, which I have written about in the past.  I was involved in countless pursuits and have been the primary unit performing a PIT (pursuit intervention technique) in two of them, and assisted on several others.

I have held pressure on bullet wounds of gunshot victims, I’ve done CPR more than once, and proudly can say it actually worked once and I saved a guy.  I even evacuated a gunshot victim off the front porch of a residence with the suspect still inside.  Ironically, of the 5 cops who pulled that woman off her front porch, I somehow was the only one ignored when it came time to hand out lifesaving medals.  Later, during that same incident, I was captured by news cameras pulling a small child off the suspect who was refusing to follow commands.  Heck, I even got an episode of COPS under my belt (Season 28, Episode 4).  Side note: One thing I found out when filming COPS, you cannot say “dildo” on national television.  Who knew?

This kid is AJ. He is losing his sight. The guy in the flight suit is Duncan. He set up an incredible day for AJ, and I got to be a part of it.
This kid is AJ. He is losing his sight. The guy in the flight suit is Duncan. He set up an incredible day for AJ, and I got to be a part of it.

After missing out on the job at air ops the first time around, an opening at EVOC (emergency vehicle operations course) was announced.  I’ve always loved driving, especially driving a car hard, and I get along very well with the only other full-time deputy at EVOC, so I put in for it, and got it.  I have been assigned to our EVOC facility for the last three (3) years.  It is a great job, and the wife is very happy about it because I am not getting shot at anymore, but the only downside it that I do not feel like a cop anymore.  That said, it is a great job and I have a great coworker.  But…

The Crap
During my 22 years as a cop, I have lost a number of coworkers who have been killed on the job.  Some were lost to accidents, like when Joe and Kevin were killed when our helicopter, Star 6, suffered a catastrophic engine malfunction, and sadly quite a few others who were murdered.  The Sacramento Sheriff’s Department has been hit pretty hard as of late.  In the last four years, three of my coworkers were murdered, and I have written about each incident.  The one that hit me the hardest was Bob French.  I wrote about it the night Bob died, but attributed it to “an unnamed Sacramento deputy” because I could not say where I worked.  Bob and I went to the academy together.  I had known him more than 20 years, and I was there at the scene of the shooting and watched the paramedics working on him.  Bob’s death really hit home, hard.

Additionally, during my career, the political landscape has changed dramatically.  While the Sacramento Bee has never been friendly to law enforcement, most of the news stations used to give the cops a pretty fair shake in the news.  But sadly, the political left decided to wage a war on cops.  Very early in his presidency, Barack Obama got in on the act and never relented.  Quite a few other politicians have also joined the fray, slinging mud at law enforcement as part of their stump speeches or just making comments on social media.

In the meantime, Black Lives Matter sprang up, and then Antifa.  Now it is cool and hip to hate the cops.  While all of us in law enforcement understand that those groups are the vocal minority, it still wears on you because they are in the news, slamming law enforcement, almost every single day, and law enforcement essentially just sits there quietly and takes it.  Hell, some law enforcement administrators have started bending over backwards to try and placate the cop hating assholes.  Thankfully, I work for a sheriff, Scott Jones, who will not play that game, but he will not be around much longer, and in fact was set to retire this year but stuck it out.

Add all that on top of the normal BS that is part of the daily grind at any job, throw in a few law enforcement specific things, a dash of department specific annoyances, a desire to flee my home state, all mixed together with being both fully vested in my retirement and old enough to start collecting and you end up on the “two bad days” retirement plan.  That is where I was until one really stupid thing at work happened, and then…

The Final Straw
The last election here in California finally convinced my wife of something I have been convinced of for about 10 years:  California is too far gone and is never coming back.  She, like I, had held on to a tiny sliver of hope that John Cox would win and thus we would avoid having the cop hating, gun hating, criminal loving, homeless enabling, pro-drug, open border slime ball Gavin Newsom as governor.  Not only did Cox not win, but the kicker for my wife was watching the idiot voters in California vote to keep the higher gas taxes the politicians had slapped on us because they misspent the money they already collected for road repairs.

I have for years been saying California was lost, and she finally has come to the same conclusion, so we are getting out!

Now What?
I am looking forward to my next endeavor.  I have been writing for blogs and other online outlets now for about six years, and during that time I have had a couple things published in a magazine.  I have been lucky enough to have some of my pieces end up being read on a radio talk radio show (in a good way), and one even ended up being republished by the New York Post.  As much as I never would have imagined it during my time as a student, I have found I enjoy writing, and I especially enjoy writing about guns.  I have been doing this all for free for the last six years, but it is time for that to change.  I have a number of writing prospects that I will be pursuing once I find a new place to call home.

To those who have followed my social media pages, I want to thank you for your support over the years.  Not only has it meant a lot to me, but my coworkers, both those on my department and from other agencies, truly are thankful for your support.  Our job can be quite taxing at times, and without the support of you, the general public, we would be hard pressed to carry on.

To my coworkers at the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, you are some of the finest men and women I could imagine sharing a career with.  In my 22 year career, you have continued to impress me with your professionalism, caring, and love of the job and our community.

To Sheriff Jones, and the other supervisors I have worked for over the last several years, thank you for your support of my first amendment rights by allowing me to run this page.  There are many cops who do not work for a boss who would allow them to run a social media page like mine.  I specifically remember reaching out to you after my open letter to Mayor Kevin Johnson went viral, and was expecting you to have me shut down my social media pages, but you read what I wrote and told me that not only did I have the first amendment right to free speech, but that I had also done so without violating any department policies or dragging the department into it.

Sheriff Jones, I also want to thank you for your steadfast support of the men and women who serve under you on a daily basis, and by extension, the men and women of other law enforcement agencies in the area, who have not always had the support of their own leadership.  While you and I have not always agreed on policy issues, your outspoken support of law enforcement in general has been very reassuring, and this goes for members of those other local agencies who have specifically told me how much they appreciate and respect you for that support.  Law enforcement is the favorite punching bag of some of the local media outlets, and you have always stood strong to defend us, and we all appreciate that, no matter the color of the uniform we wear.

So, as I close one chapter of my life and open another, I am met with feelings of pride, joy, sorrow, anticipation, angst, worry, loss, but most of all, hope.  Hope for a better future for my wife, myself, and most importantly, for my kids.  Now I get to make sure my kids will grow up in a state that respects individual rights, freedoms, and most importantly, is pro-America, the greatest country to ever grace this planet.