On April 5, 2024, Investigator Matt Barnes, a long-standing member of the Vicksburg Police Department, surprised everyone by resigning.


Barnes was a K-9 cop, meaning he had a trained K-9, Nadia, with him. He housed, bonded with, and worked with Nadia for five years. His children considered Nadia a family pet, and to Barnes, Nadia is a valued companion, well-trained, and often used tool to capture desperate people in desperate situations.

According to Investigator Barnes, who raised K-9 Nadia, she was not allowed to stay with her family once he resigned, and Vicksburg Police Chief Penny Jones did not notify him about this.

Normally, K-9s are assigned to an officer for life. They work side by side, and when the K-9 retires, it stays with the family until the end of its natural life. Under Mississippi Code 45-3-52, “A member of the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol or any other certified law enforcement officer shall be allowed to retain as his personal property any dog assigned to such member when the dog is retired from service.”

In a post on social media, former VPD Investigator Barnes posted:

“Nadia is an 8 year old Belgian Malinois who’s the partner and best friend of former Vicksburg Police Department Investigator Matthew Barnes. Nadia was a donated K9 and worked along side of Inv. Barnes. Nadia has been with Inv. Barnes’ family for almost 5 years and is just as much loved and cared for as a human family member.

On April 5, 2024, Inv. Barnes resigned from VPD. However, due to Nadia being donated to VPD she would have to stay. Inv. Barnes sent a letter to Chief Penny Jones respectfully requesting for Nadia to be retired so that she could remain with the family she’s had for the past 5 years. In the letter Inv. Barnes stated Nadia would not work for any other department and he would pay whatever amount of money requested by the City of Vicksburg. Inv. Barnes was told an official meeting with the Mayor and Board of Aldermen would be held to determine the matter.
Up until April 11, 2024, no official word from Chief Jones was given to Inv. Barnes. On April 11, Inv. Barnes learned Chief Jones was to have mailed a letter giving her decision. As of today (April 19, 2024) no letter has been received. On April 17, 2024, Inv. Barnes went to VPD and received a copy of the official statement from Cheif Jones, however it was at this point he learned the request to retire Nadia was denied by Chief Jones. The letter was dated April 5, 2024, the same day Inv. Barnes resigned.
Inv. Barnes reached out to Chief Jones respectfully asking her to reconsider but again it was denied. Inv Barnes has spoken with the Mayors office about the matter but has yet to receive a call back.
With that being said, Inv. Barnes is pleading for your help to have Mayor George Flaggs and Alderman Alex Monsour, reconsider retiring K9 Officer Nadia. Her family misses her badly!!!!!!”
The Vicksburg Daily News reached out to Mayor George Flaggs  who said, “No Comments and I am referring ALL CALL TO CHIEF JONES.” Police Chief Penny Jones responded, “I am going to address the entire issue on Monday.”