'A heart of gold': Fallen McAlester police patrolman honored

Mar. 29—A fellow officer said the late McAlester Police Patrolman Joseph Barlow had a heart of gold.

McAlester Police Office Colby Barnett told more than 1,000 people gathered Wednesday at the Southeast Expo Center for Barlow's funeral that Barlow loved being an officer and helping people.

"Joseph had a heart of gold and would always do anything he could for anyone," Barnett said. "I promise you, if that young man had a dollar in his pocket, and that was the only dollar he had in his bank account, he'd give it to whoever needed it."

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Barnett said Barlow always went above and beyond what was expected of him and was always eager to learn.

"He was an officer that every department aspires to have," Barnett said. "He loved being a police officer from day one."

Barlow, 26, died on March 20, 2023, after succumbing to injures received in a March 17, 2023, head-on collision while escorting fallen McAlester Police Capt. Richard Parker.

Several officers from the McAlester Police Department travelled to Tulsa to escort Parker from the medical examiner's office to a funeral home in Wetumka.

The driver of the vehicle that struck Barlow's patrol vehicle, 39-year-old Martin Rivas Rodriguez, is being held in the Tulsa County Jail on charges of first-degree manslaughter-automobile, causing a fatality accident without a valid driver's license, reckless driving, and no valid driver's license. Rodriguez is also being held on a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold.


Barlow was born Nov. 4, 1996. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2013 before graduating McAlester High School in 2015. He served for eight years in the U.S. Army Reserves and played the bugle at numerous military funerals.

He spent three years as a correctional officer at the Jackie Brannon Correctional Center in McAlester where he was a member of the special response team and Honor Guard before joining the McAlester Police Department on Aug. 2, 2021.

Pastor Jamie Kirkpatrick, who co-officiated the Wednesday service, read scripture, shared a story of how Barlow jokingly pulled him over, how he served the community, and said Barlow unified the community in prayer.

Barlow is survived by Chaise Iskey and their son, Hudson Barlow; parents Cindy and Shannon Barkley, Jerry Barlow, Jr. and Brenda Schoggins; sisters and spouses, Rachel and Daniel Morrison, Jessica and Bill Martin; brothers, Austin Hood and Tyler Hood along with paternal and maternal grandparents and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.


St. John Medical Center in Tulsa honored Barlow on March 22, 2023, with a Donate Life flag-raising ceremony to honor his status as an organ donor. Life Share Oklahoma said Barlow donated his liver, heart, pancreas, and a kidney — which could potentially save up to four lives.

A representative from the U.S. Honor Flag spoke at the service. When the flag was retired, U.S. Army Private First Class Michael Pottinger gave the flag a final salute.

"Joseph had an incredible impact on this young man. Encouraged him and embodied him to become a soldier, the representative said. "That's the kind of impact that Joseph had on his family. He will not be forgotten. His sacrifice will continually be honored, not just by this department, this community, but this American flag."