After graduating from the Riverside Sheriff's Academy, Matt Yarbrough began his law enforcement career as a California State Parks Ranger in 2003. For four years he patrolled, protected and responded to calls at state beaches and crowded campgrounds in Santa Barbara. Before transferring to Tahoe in 2007, Yarbrough established himself as an exemplary field training officer (FTO) for rangers new to the department, teaching them tactics and reviewing penal code violations. In addition to his role as an FTO, Yarbrough also became a defensive tactics instructor and firearms inspector.
Yarbrough earned a bachelor's degree in history at California State University, Chico. He volunteers as a youth triathlon coach and at the Humane Society.