MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association has named Waseca Police Officer Arik Matson as their 2020 recipient for the Police Officer of the Year Award.
The MCPA says they recognize officers from across the state based on their compassion for the citizens they serve and their commitment to keeping their communities safe.
MCPA President and Maple Grove police chief, Eric Werner, said the awards are meant to honor the work that is often unseen by the public.
“These awards call out some of the best, brightest and bravest men and women in Minnesota law enforcement, but police chiefs across our state also today want to recognize the great work that goes unnoticed from the vast majority of police officers in agencies of all sizes, urban and rural,” said Werner.
He also said the Police Officer of the Year Award is given to an officer whose actions exceed expectations after having been injured, faced imminent personal hazards beyond the call of duty, and presented courage in emergency conditions which resulted in successful resolutions.
Matson, 32, was shot and severely injured on January 6, 2020, while responding to a call of a suspicious person in a neighborhood in Waseca. Since the incident, Matson has undergone multiple surgeries and extensive treatments. Matson returned home in October after a lengthy recovery at a Nebraska rehab center.
During his recovery process, the community of Waseca celebrated and supported Matson in more ways than one. The Waseca high school hockey team wore patches on their jerseys to honor the officer, Waseca Mayor Roy Srp proclaimed February 22, 2020 as Officer Arik Matson Day, and community members lined the streets to welcome the officer home from his out of state rehab stay.
In July, 37-year-old Tyler Janovsky pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder for shooting Matson in the January 6 incident. He was sentenced in November to 35 years in prison.
During the sentencing, Matson told the court he doesn’t remember getting shot, saying, “One day you have everything, the next day it’s gone.”
Other members of the Waseca Police Department who were part of the incident will also be recognized for their actions.
Matson and other officers will be honored at the MCPA’s annual statewide awards banquet on November 2, 2021.