Bagpipes and honor guards were on the State Capitol grounds Wednesday night as Minnesotans marked Peace Officers Memorial Day. Since Minnesota became a state, 286 officers, deputies, troopers, correctional and detention officers and deputies, game wardens and agents have given their lives in the line of duty. The first was Winona Police Officer Matthew Hamilton in 1874.
State Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington says, “These heroes were so much more than the laws that they enforced, so much more than the badges that they wore, so much more than the uniforms that they wore so proudly.”
Governor Tim Walz thanked law enforcement officers and gave a gentle reminder to those they serve. “There’s a lot of folks not here tonight, and that’s not a shame on them,” Walz said. “That’s an understanding that they were given a gift: They don’t have to think about it. They don’t have to think about what brought security and safety in their communities, because you [peace officers] simply did it.”