Father and son patrol together

Published 8:12 am Sunday, May 16, 2010

For the first time in 25 years, one local father and son are working together in law enforcement in Freeborn County.

Albert Lea Police Cpl. Tim Matson and his son Arik Matson, a new patrolman with the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office, are working side by side during the night shift.

The last time a father and son worked together in law enforcement was in 1985 when Al Villarreal and his son, Bill Villarreal, worked alongside each other in the Police Department and Sheriff’s Office. They had done so for eight years.

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The start of the Matsons’ time in law enforcement is similar.

Tim Matson joined the Albert Lea Police Department in 1985 after he graduated from Mankato State University with a four-year degree in law enforcement and business administration. He had completed an internship with the Albert Lea Police Department and the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office the year prior.

“I applied and took the first job I got,” he said. “I’ve been here ever since.”

He said he got involved with law enforcement because he likes to help people.

“I think it’s important to help the less privileged and the old and the sick,” Tim Matson said. “You think when you get involved with law enforcement you’re going to be a major crime fighter, but most of the time you’re doing day-to-day activities.”

Arik Matson graduated from Albert Lea High School in 2006 and recently graduated from Minnesota State University-Mankato with a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement.

Before he went to college, he was part of the police explorer’s program and completed an internship with the Albert Lea Police Department.

Arik Matson said his interest in law enforcement came from the strong influence in his family. His mother, Sheila Matson, has been extremely supportive over the years.

Arik Matson has also previously had a job in loss prevention and a separate security job at the Minnesota Vikings training camp. He got more interested in law enforcement when he went for a ride-along with an officer.

“You get the bug, you do,” his father noted.

After Arik Matson finished college, he said, he was offered a job at the Freeborn County jail during the second round of hiring for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement contract.

He worked in the jail for eight months and in April was promoted to the position of patrol deputy.

He said he’s appreciative of the opportunity he has to work for the Sheriff’s Office and he’s thankful to the senior deputies who have taught him so far.

With both Matsons working on the night shift, the father and son said they are able to ride to work together.

Being that there are fewer officers and deputies on at night, they said they think they get to work closer together at night than they would during the day.

“There will be a time where they’ll back us up or we’ll back them up,” Tim Matson said. “We’re only a radio away.”