Detective Matthew Scott began working at the UCF Police Department in 2006 as a community service officer while pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice here.
A Brooklyn native who once aspired to become an artist, Scott earned a master’s degree from UCF and was promoted to detective in 2012. But he hasn’t given up art completely – in his spare time, he illustrates children’s books for an organization that helps children who come from abusive homes.
What do you enjoy most about working at the UCF Police Department?
I enjoy the bond we all share at our Police Department the most. The close working relationships I have made while working at this agency are some of the reasons I enjoy coming to work each day.
What are the most important qualities you must have to succeed as a police officer?
You have to care about the community. You have to care about people you don’t even know. You have to care about making the world a better place. You have to care that the job you’re doing is making a difference. As long as you can do that, everything else will follow.
What are the most important safety tips you can offer students and parents?
I would offer students this simple advice: don’t become complacent. Just because it’s a college campus doesn’t mean there aren’t people here with ill intentions. Lock your vehicle, secure your belongings and, if you have to go somewhere, take your property with you. For parents, I would encourage you to be active in your student’s life. Sending them to college is just the first step. Just talking to them on the phone does wonders for those long nights of study!
Of all your accomplishments to date, which one has meant the most to you?
I think being able to become a detective at 27 years old is something I’ll always hold in high regard. I thank my Police Department for giving me the opportunity to serve my community in an exciting new way. I have learned so much in such a short time, and I plan to continue my service to my agency, my community and my alma mater.
Who has been the most important role model in your life?
My parents. Their hard work and sacrifices are one of the reasons I have come so far in my life today. I incorporate the lessons they’ve taught me into my day-to-day actions. They are my heroes, and I hope to be as strong and as resilient as them one day.
We hear you are the best-dressed detective in Central Florida. What is the secret to your fashion success?
I find that when you do something you love, you give it your all. Being a detective for the UCF Police Department is an honor. It’s an honor to bring justice for the students, faculty and staff members I serve and protect. I want to represent my department in a positive light and take pride in the job that I do!
Will we see you on the cover of GQ someday?
Probably not, since I don’t dress the way I do so people can think I’m fashionable.
Who is your favorite detective from a book, movie or television show?
Growing up, I loved Sherlock Holmes. I had the entire collection and I would read it over and over again. I liked how his character was always two steps ahead of everyone else, but he wasn’t arrogant. Sherlock took his time to deduce his findings and bring his criminals to justice.
What is the most common misperception people have about police work as a result of how it is portrayed in the movies or on television?
I’d say shows like “CSI” have really caused a misperception about how we do our jobs. In the show, a murder gets solved in an hour, DNA gets run through a database in two minutes and criminals always talk to the detectives. This simply is not reality. There is a lot of hard work that goes into getting justice for victims, and it sometimes takes a while.
Share something no one or very few people know about you?
I can play bass guitar, and I own a 5 string bass. I’ve played bass guitar for many years in my church youth group. I once played in front of more than 300 people at a youth conference.
What would be your dream job if you were not a detective or police officer? Why?
My dream job would be to illustrate comic strips and draw my own created stories. I’ve always been a very creative person, and I enjoy writing engrossing material. Whether it was comic books or cartoons, I simply loved the medium. It’s still a dream of mine, and I draw in my off time.
What do you do for volunteer work?
I’m illustrating children’s books for an organization trying to give children coming from an abusive home something to read. Due to my full-time job, it has been a slow-going process but I look forward to the day when I can turn in a completed work. Children are our most important treasures, and giving them hope in a hopeless situation should be our top priority. There is nothing more delightful than that!