A Police Captain’s Journey

By Lindsay Prokopetz

A Police Captain’s Journey

By Lindsay Prokopetz
John Barkley of the Naples Police Department is earning a MPA degree through UM’s online program.

A member of the Naples police force for almost three decades, Captain John Barkley has won numerous awards for his service and achievements.

However, despite his extensive experience and leadership capabilities, Barkley decided he needed additional credentials to achieve his aspiration of becoming a police chief or high-level professional in law enforcement.

To hopefully make that happen, Barkley enrolled in the University of Miami’s online Master of Public Administration program.

“Although my expertise is in law enforcement, I feel like this degree will prepare me for any position in government or the non-profit sector,” Barkley said.

Barkley started his career with the Naples Police Department in 1990 as a police officer. In 2006 he was promoted to sergeant, and in 2007 he became the supervisor of the Criminal Investigations Division, supervising all general crimes detectives. In 2010 he was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to oversee the Professional Standards Division, which includes internal affairs, training, accreditation and public information. In 2015 he achieved the rank of captain and now oversees the Administrative Services Bureau.

Barkley, who grew up in Miami, holds associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice and public safety administration from Edison State Community College. However, as an avid University of Miami fan who has been attending Hurricanes football games since he was 9 years old, he always wanted to attend UM as a student. That dream came true when he found out about the online MPA program, which was an ideal fit for his career goals and schedule.

As a University of Miami student, the police captain decided to put his classroom learning to work when he recently gave the department’s budget presentation for the city council – a job usually reserved for department heads, he notes.

“Getting to learn something in a book and being able to apply it immediately is something that is invaluable,” he said.

While Barkley admits that the first couple of classes were tough, he was prepared for what to expect by his academic advisor, and said that with discipline and good time management skills, he has succeeded in mastering a full-time career and rigorous academic schedule.

Barkley, who considers himself a late bloomer when it comes to his education, said he never thought about being a supervisor. But after getting feedback from many colleagues who thought he would excel in a leadership role, and finding just the right program to earn the necessary credentials, changed his mind – and his career path.  

“I think this program is perfect for law enforcement officers who want to make it a profession and not just a job,” Barkley said.