Minnesota Senator Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont) today is celebrating the introduction of a new bill that strengthens state criminal penalties against individuals who are convicted of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, judge, prosecutor, or correctional officer. The legislation (Senate File 82) increases the minimum sentence from 20 years with release under supervision after two-third of the sentence is served to life incarceration with a minimum of 30 years in prison before being eligible for release.
“This is a great way to show Minnesota’s law enforcement officers that we appreciate everything they do to keep us safe,” said Sen. Rosen. “An attempt to kill an officer of the law is an attack on the safety and security of our communities, and must be met with a punishment that is severe as the crime. As Megan Matson said during the press conference, this is a terrific way to say thank you to Minnesota’s police officers.”
Several legislators held a press conference that was attended Officer Arik Matson, a Waseca police officer who was nearly killed in the line of duty last January, as well as Officer Matson’s wife Megan, Waseca County Attorney Rachel Cornelius, Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association Executive Director Brian Peters, and Law Enforcement Labor Services Executive Director Jim Mortenson in support of the new legislation.
Waseca County Attorney Rachel Cornelius said, “After prosecuting the case for the attempted murder of Officers Arik Matson, Officer Andrew Harren and Sergeant Tim Schroeder, it was clear there was a glaring gap in our current statutes. We provided for higher penalties for murder of police officers, but there was no similar increase in penalties for attempted murder. This legislation fixes that and gives prosecutors in Minnesota another tool in the toolbox to pursue violent criminals.”
Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association Executive Director Brian Peters said, “The thousands of officers who put their lives on the line to protect their fellow citizens and enforce laws deserve to know those who would seek to harm them will face greater penalties. We ask a lot of our public safety community and their families and this piece of legislation is a sign of the commitment we hold to those who work every day to make our communities safer.”
Megan Matson, wife of Waseca Police Officer Arik Matson who was shot and critically wounded in the line of duty on January 6, 2020, said, “Every day gets a little easier for our family, and we appreciate the support of the community as we move along in our journey. This legislation will help make sure law enforcement members and their families will have the full support of the justice system with them when a person tries to keep that law enforcement officer from ever seeing their family again.”
Law Enforcement Labor Services (LELS) Executive Director Jim Mortenson said, “Public safety officials face considerable danger in their day-to-day work. This proposal is a way for all of us to commit to supporting justice for those peace officers whose lives are threatened – just like Arik Matson and his bravery – as they continue to enter into dangerous situations on behalf of citizens of Minnesota.