'He Really is One of the Good Ones:' Former Partners Remember Fallen Minnesota Officer

September 14, 2017 06:00 AM

(ABC 6 News) - Wednesday, friends, family and the law enforcement community came together at a visitation to remember Wayzata Police Officer Bill Mathews, who died after being hit by a car while on the job on Friday.

Prior to becoming an officer with Wayzata, Mathews joined the force in Zumbrota.


He graduated from Pine Island High School. From there, he went to college at Rochester Community and Technical College, and Winona State University, which started a path to his future career in law enforcement.

Eventually, Mathews landed at the Zumbrota Police Department in 1998, where his formers partners said he embodied all the qualities every police officer should have.

"I would describe Bill as a caring cop, he was easy going, a friend to everybody," Mathews former co-worker, Zumbrota Police Officer Rob Jarrett said.  "It starts to hit home that this was a person that you worked with pretty closely."

Mathews trained Jarrett when he was just getting started in the field. The two have kept their friendship going years after Matthews changed jobs.

“The harsh reality of working in law enforcement is understanding that some days, your partners that you work with, it might be their last,” Jarrett said.   

"Bill was probably the nicest guy you'll ever meet," Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Jason Johnson said. "It was fun working with Bill, honored all of his commitments, [he] loved doing the job."

Johnson also worked with Mathews when they were both with Zumbrota Police in 1998. Johnson recalled that dark day when Mathews was struck and killed by a car while he was picking up debris from the side of the road. Johnson said he’s had to go out on the highway many times while working, and said it can be a dangerous place. 

"You always keep your eye on traffic, but they're coming at you pretty quick and not everybody's paying attention, so it can happen in a split second," Johnson said.  

He said the news of his fallen friend was tough to swallow.

"It's like getting kicked in the stomach, it's a pit in your stomach and you're kind of in a state of disbelief at first, like ‘no, that can't be him,’" Johnson said. "It's still hard to believe."

However, Officer Bill Mathews will always be remembered as an officer, a family man, and a friend. 

"He really is one of the good ones," Johnson said.

 "He served with pride, honor, integrity, he's the person you wanted to have on your police department," Jarrett said.  

Mathew's funeral will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at Wayzata Free Church in Plymouth.

Johnson and Jarrett will be there, along with about 2,000 members of law enforcement from across the state.


Elise Romas

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