ELWOOD, Ind. — Matt Shahnavaz is the newest reserve officer for the Elwood Police Department. He never imagined he would be a police officer.
“It was something that Noah always wanted to do,” Matt said.
It was a dream Noah achieved and thrived in.
“He loved his job, he loved helping the citizens of Elwood,” Matt said. “He was always looking for ways to help other people.”
But, Noah’s time was cut short. He was shot and killed during a traffic stop on July 31.
”It’s really a daily struggle, I think,” Matt said. “There hasn’t been a day go by, really, where at some point in the day tears will come and it could be triggered by anything.”
The Elwood Police Department, a place Noah spent so much time, is now covered in pictures of him.
The department and people there have become a safe haven for Matt and his family.
”Every time I came to Elwood, every time I spent time with the guys, did a ride along with them, it was a pick me up every time,” Matt said.
So becoming an Elwood reserve police officer was an easy choice, even if it did take time.
”First and foremost, it was a way I could honor Noah and carry out his legacy here in the community,” Matt said.
This also gives him and his family an opportunity to heal.
”For my entire family, it feels like this is healing for them and hopefully it will also be an inspiration to guys on this department, other departments and the community,” Matt said.
Matt said the Shahnavaz family haven’t been the best at thank you cards and those sort of things during this difficult time, but he’s hoping his service shows how grateful the family is to a community that has wrapped them in support.
”I want them to know how appreciative we are for their support, for their love what they have shown me and my family,” Matt said.
Elwood Police Chief Jason Brizendine said reserve officers work in the Elwood community.
“Now he can actually experience what Noah did and live out what he was going to be doing for our department,” Brizendine said.
Elwood Reserve Officers help veterans, the elderly and also lead community events.
”Matt will be a little bit of everything, I’m assuming,” Brizendine said. “He is very outgoing, he’s a great guy, great family. I’m assuming he’ll want to be involved in about everything we do.”
Matt Shahnavaz was officially sworn in with his wife Laurie by his side Wednesday. The moment was full of emotions.
“Noah would be so shocked and surprised and also very, very proud and happy,” Matt said.
Matt will wear badge number 139, in honor of Noah. Noah wore badge 39. The idea was a surprise from the chief
”Was not expecting that at all,” Matt said. “It took a lot to not break down in that moment.”
Brizendine still has Noah’s name and badge number on a list of Elwood officers written on a chalkboard outside his office. He said he’ll never erase Noah’s name.
”I’m always thinking about Noah and everything that happened, but thinking back when we were swearing him in and now swearing his father in, it’s definitely a mix of emotions,” Brizendine said. “Sad and prideful.”
As Matt begins his time as a reserve officer, he knows Noah is there giving him strength.
“I’m a little out of my comfort zone in doing some of these things but Noah was the type of person who did hard things,” Matt said.
Matt Shahnavaz completed his pre-basic training Friday, allowing him to serve the community as a reserve Elwood police officer. He passed the final exam with a 98%.