Law Enforcement Support

Officer William Mathews

June 2023 Mission moment
officer william mathews
waysata, minnesota police department

On September 8, 2017, Officer William Mathews was struck and killed by a vehicle on Route 12, between Route 101 and Shoreline Drive, in Wayzata, Minnesota at approximately 12:30 pm.

He was in the process of removing debris from the roadway when a vehicle struck him. The driver of the car that struck him was driving on a revoked license and was under the influence of narcotics at the time. She was charged with criminal vehicular homicide, as well as narcotics and other charges and was sentenced to eight years.

Officer Mathews had served with the Wayzata Police Department for 19 years. He is survived by his wife and 7-year-old son.

Colonel Matt Langer

The purpose of an impaired driving arrest
Colonel matt Langer
chief of the minnesota state Patrol

There is only one thing better than an impaired driver being pulled over and arrested. The only thing better is if that driver had opted not to drive impaired in the first place. While our collective goal should always be focused on preventing impaired, our next goal is to prevent the tragedies that occur at the hands of an impaired driver who is already on the road. We see them all too often.

Most of us grew up in agencies that track the statistics of our work. If traffic enforcement is your primary mission, then certainly the number of impaired drivers you arrested matters when it comes to evaluating your performance. It fills me with pride to see troopers, police officers, and deputies working hard to arrest impaired drivers. While the numbers that add up over a given shift, month, year, or career matter, I hope the numbers never matter more than the focus on the opportunity to save lives by transforming lives. That transformational opportunity happens with the interaction between an impaired driver and the peace officer making the arrest.

While the transaction of adding another arrest to the log adds up and indicates performance, it also represents prevention. It represents one impaired driver who was taken off the road before something bad happened. In our line of work, we cannot often see the crashes we prevented or the lives we saved. We have to keep the faith that each traffic stop and each arrest of an impaired driver makes a difference. Not only in the moment of that roadside transaction, but also in the opportunity for transformation. The opportunity for someone to walk away from addiction and make better choices can start with an arrest. The connections made and the conversations that occur provide the chance for better decision-making in the future. If it is rock bottom for the driver, then there is nowhere but up, and our peace officers are in the position to provide the support, guidance, and vision for the start of a better life.

Like many agencies, we give awards for impaired driving arrest proficiency. The trooper who arrests the most impaired drivers is bestowed the Eagle Squadron award. Each time we deliver the award, I remark about the unknown number of lives saved by these impaired drivers being intercepted and arrested before something bad happened. This is certainly true for the trooper who arrested the most impaired drivers, but it can be just as true for the trooper who arrested a much smaller number of impaired drivers. Even one arrest might just have been the arrest that prevented a death.

I encourage conversation about the purpose of a traffic stop. Indeed, it is to make our roads safer. While there are many traffic stops that promote traffic safety, stopping an impaired driver is amongst the most important interventions we can make. Next time you make that traffic stop and arrest an impaired driver, please know there are people like me who 1) thank you for possibly preventing a tragedy, and 2) appreciate the opportunity you have to transform the life of the impaired driver you are interacting with. Keep the faith and keep working hard.

Editor’s note: Please see the June 2023 MADD Officer of the Month, Trooper Gustavo Culbeaux. Trooper Culbeaux is the 2023 Minnesota State Patrol Eagle Squadron award winner with 171 impaired driving arrest in 2022.

June 2023 Officer of the month trooper gustavo culbeaux minnesota state patrol

MADD proudly recognizes Trooper Gustavo Culbeaux of the Minnesota State Patrol as our Officer of the Month for June 2023. Trooper Culbeaux has been a member of the Minnesota State Patrol for five years. On February 9, 2023, Colonel Matt Langer and Department of Public Safety Commissioner Bob Jacobson awarded Trooper Culbeaux with the Minnesota State Patrol Eagle Squadron Award. Each year, the Eagle Squadron Award is presented to the Minnesota State Patrol trooper who arrested the greatest number of impaired drivers the previous year. Impaired driving enforcement continues to be job number one for every State Patrol Trooper. Aggressive enforcement in this important area saves countless lives and injuries each year. In 2022, Trooper Culbeaux arrested 171 impaired drivers. Trooper Culbeaux’s dedication to making an impact in the critical area of removing impaired drivers from Minnesota’s roadways earned him the 2023 Eagle Squadron Award. His actions and dedication to duty has undoubtedly saved many lives in Minnesota. MADD National is proud to recognize Trooper Gustavo Culbeaux as the MADD June 2023 Officer of the Month. We thank him for his dedicated service to the citizens of the State of Minnesota. We wish him the best in safety and wellness in the remaining years of his career and service.

MADD extends our deepest condolences to the agencies and families who have lost officers and loved ones in the line of duty

For a complete listing of Officers lost in the line of duty, please visit: