James Barnett was a native of Co. Down, Ireland, and joined the City of Glasgow Police in 1874. He was posted to the ‘D’ (Southern) Division, where he was remain for the rest of his service.
Between 1874 and 1884, Mr Barnett progressed through the ranks from Constable to the rank of Lieutenant.
He was involved in many notable cases during his service, particularly that of the ‘Dynamitards’ in 1883, when some politically motivated Irishmen, know as the Ribbon Society, blew up a gas storage tank in the Tradeston Gas Works.
In his role as Lieutenant, he was also the Deputy Prosecutor in the Southern Police Court, one of the busiest in the City.
In 1920, he was awarded the King’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service and retired from Glasgow Police in 1921.