My Point of View: How do we value those who risk their lives to protect ours?

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2022

My Point of View by Robert Hoffman

Jan. 6 is the anniversary of an event that has shaped us locally, changed us as a state and reflects one of the most important national issues affecting us: the appreciation of our law enforcement and their families.

Robert Hoffman

On Jan. 6, 2020, Officer Arik Matson was shot in the line of duty while serving as a Waseca police officer. 

“I would still respond to that call if it was tomorrow,” Matson has said. “I have gratitude for being here today with everyone. It’s amazing one day you have everything and the next day it is gone.” 

Officer Matson is an Albert Lea High School graduate, a husband to an amazing wife and father to a beautiful family. Matson’s mom is well known for having worked at our local high school and Hy-Vee. His dad is a retired Albert Lea police officer. Arik’s brother, also an Albert Lea High School graduate, is one of the kindest men anyone could meet and is a husband and father also. There’s not a story more local than that of the Matson’s. Their law enforcement family was changed after the events of Jan. 6, 2020.

The attack on Officer Matson soon changed us as a state as well when the Arik Matson Bill went into effect in August 2021, strengthening support for our state’s law enforcement. 

On their Matson Strong Facebook page, Matson’s wife posted, “On behalf of Arik and I, we would like to give a huge THANK YOU to Rachel Cornelius Waseca County Attorney, Brian Peters with MPPOA, Senator Jasinski, Senator Gazelka, Representative Petersburg, John Hultquist for never backing down, for never giving up and for being Matson Strong throughout these past months pushing and fighting for this Bill to pass. We couldn’t have done it without this great team of leadership, of knowledge, and respect for Law Enforcement in the state of Minnesota.” 

Officer Matson’s family has been through hell, but they have grown stronger for it. Any law enforcement family knows what it’s like to be both so proud of and so scared for their family member in service. A nation of families makes sure their kiss goodbye, the, “I love you” or the, “See you later, Mommy or Daddy” to a loved one in law enforcement is important every single time it happens. As a nation, we are better off because of those on the receiving end of these goodbyes. Arik’s family is forever a part of a very large family of law enforcement, and if we had thousands more Matson families, we’d be an even better nation. 

2022 will now bring many campaigns and elections locally, statewide and nationally that will be greatly shaped by how we value those who risk their lives to protect ours. It is important to support those who support the best police protection we can have. A community as small as Albert Lea can greatly benefit by being a safe community to live and work. A once great city like Minneapolis can easily fall apart and lose all trust by devaluing its police force, becoming no longer safe enough to even drive your car down the street. A nation destroying itself via burning, looting and murder is a weak nation. We have a 2022 election to change all this.

The Jan. 6 anniversary of Officer Matson being shot doesn’t remind me of an officer being attacked, rather it reminds me of the officer who alway says, “I love you” before he hangs up the phone. It reminds me of an officer who is very strong saying, “I would still respond to that call if it was tomorrow.” It also reminds me of a nation, both scared and proud, that can make it through even the worst if we all just channel our inner Matson Strong and know our family is here to help.  

Robert Hoffman is chairman of the Freeborn County Republican Party.