Minnesota honor guards begin 24-hour watch at fallen officer memorial

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As part of Law Enforcement Memorial Day in Minnesota, officers will be standing guard at the Peace Officers’ Memorial in St. Paul for 24 hours straight.

In Minnesota, 280 officers have died in the line of duty.

The honor guards started their watch at 7 p.m. Monday. They will be taking 30-minute shifts until Tuesday evening. The participating guards are part of the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association, which provides assistance to the families and departments of officers who died in action.

“We'll be out here until tomorrow night in rain, wind, sleet and hail,” said Commander Dave Holmquist with the Minnesota LEMA honor guard. We’ll be out here honoring our fallen officers. No matter what, we’re prepared to do what we need to honor them for giving the ultimate sacrifice. It’s the least we can do.” 

Last year, Wayzata Police Officer Bill Mathews lost his life after he was fatally struck by a vehicle on Highway 12 in Wayzata. The driver, Beth Freeman, was recently sentenced to eight years in prison. This Legislative session, Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill into law to rename the stretch of Highway 12 in Wayzata the "Officer Bill Mathews Memorial Highway."