Sergeant Steven T. Barbieri
Spokane County (WA) Sheriff’s Office
Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Sergeant Steven T. Barbieri, of the Spokane County (WA) Sheriff’s Office, as its Officer of the Month for January 2000.
At 2:00 p.m. on June 3, 1987, Steven T. Barbieri received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Eastern Washington University. By 6:00 p.m. that evening he was already on the job, as the resident deputy sheriff for Bonner County, Idaho. For the next two years, Deputy Barbieri worked a regular shift in addition to being on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He would cut his law enforcement teeth on almost every type of crime imaginable and experience any cop’s worst nightmare, the violent death of a trusted and beloved colleague.
After a home invasion burglary and a shootout with officers in an unmarked car, two felons escaped on foot into the wilds of Idaho. Deputy Barbieri and U.S. Forest Service Officer Brent Jacobson, with whom he was partnered, along with officers from several other law enforcement agencies, pursued the felons for over 23 hours in waist high snow. As Deputy Barbieri and Officer Jacobson closed in on the criminals, they were ambushed and Officer Jacobson was gunned down. Following an intense firefight, the suspects surrendered.
The loss of his partner and friend was a turning point in Deputy Barbieri’s career. As he describes it, “Up until that point, the job was fun, but when Brent was killed, I realized there is more to law enforcement.” At that point Steve Barbieri’s life and career could have taken a much different path, in fact, given similar circumstances, many would have left the law enforcement profession. Deputy Barbieri, however, became more dedicated to his vocation and sought new challenges. Six months after the death of Officer Jacobson, he left Idaho and joined the Spokane County (WA) Sheriff’s Office. Like so many law enforcement professionals Deputy Barbieri’s greatest weapon in fighting crime has been his intelligence and the knowledge of the criminal justice system, rather than his firearm. The shooting in Idaho is the only time Deputy Barbieri has fired his weapon in trying to subdue a suspect.
The Police Unity Tour is the official sponsor of the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program.