David Barnes was born in Fort Payne and graduated from Fort Payne High School in 1982. After graduation he joined the United States Army and served for several years. After returning home, he took a job with the hosiery mill industry. When the hosiery mills left Fort Payne, he found employment with Bruce’s Foodland, where he became supervisor of a shift that restocked grocery store shelves.
One evening, in 1995, he was at the local McDonalds where he saw a police officer eating dinner and asked if he could sit with him. After their conversation, Barnes knew what he wanted to do with his life.
“It was a good decision I made that night to become a police officer,” said Barnes. “I was hired right away and I love my job.”
With Barnes' previous military training, he was already efficient with weapons and was familiar with the structure of rank and the respect that goes along with recognizing rank.
“The military teaches you to serve your country,” said Barnes. “When you are in law enforcement, it is similar. You are serving a community.”
Barnes married his wife Denice in 2011. As a blended family, they have sons Ethan and Coty and daughter Celeste who have given them four grandchildren, Macie, Bryson, Kylie and Emmett. Barnes has a nephew who followed in his footsteps and joined law enforcement.
Barnes said a lot has changed in law enforcement over his 25 years, but he wants today’s youth to know they are needed to serve and protect, and the most important thing about being an officer is that they need to have a caring heart and want to help others.
He also said it is necessary for an officer to find a balance in his life that gives him an outlet from police work. Having a good mate who listens at the end of the day helps, and having a well-rounded group of friends is helpful as well.
Barnes said, “It is not the easiest of jobs, but it is a rewarding job.”
He wants the public to know that when an officer stops them for any reason, they need to listen and follow instructions. This is for the safety of both the officer and the citizen.
Barnes wife Denice works with the court system. Together, they are members of the Fort Payne Family Worship Center. He is a Mason at DeKalb Lodge 116.
As a couple, they like outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, fishing and camping. He and Denice love taking cruises.
He also takes part in the charitable event “Shop with a Cop” and reads to pre-school children at Community Action.
David’s Motto: “Make it happen.”
— Marla Ballard’s Who's Who appears in the Times-Journal Thursday editions.