The visitation for fallen Wayzata police officer William Mathews began at 3 p.m. Wednesday, and it didn't take long for people to line up to pay their respects. However, Wednesday's visitation was just a preview to what is going to be a larger spectacle on Thursday that will affect traffic in Plymouth and the surrounding area.
The funeral will be held at this Wayzata Free Church on County Road 101 in Plymouth beginning Thursday at 11 a.m. Thousands of law enforcement officers from across Minnesota, the region and the nation are expected to attend.
"It's an honor and a humbling experience to be a part of this, and to pay our respects to officer Mathews and to support our fellow officers at the Wayzata Police Department as they deal with this difficult time," said officer Scott Kirchner of the Plymouth Police Department. "So it truly is an honor for us to be involved in it and a privilege, and one we do not take lightly."
Traffic in the area near Wayzata Free Church is going to be heavy. Two processions will make their way through Plymouth and Wayzata.
The first procession will feature hundreds of law enforcement officers. Following the service, they will exit the church and head south on 101 to Wayzata Boulevard. The procession will then make its way west along the shores of Lake Minnetonka, go north on Ferndale and back to Wayzata Boulevard, heading west to Summit Park Cemetery.
The second procession will follow about 20 minutes later.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says that road closures will be in place on Thursday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.
"There will be traffic control officials out at the road closures to assist and provide guidance and direction as far as to alternative routes and things like that," said officer Kirchner. "So if individuals or motorists do come up to the closures and are confused, there will be traffic control officials there to direct them on where they may go."
Seating at the funeral is limited to law enforcement, family and friends, so the public is encouraged to pay their respects at the visitation, which goes until 8 p.m. Thursday. If they can't make it to the visitation, they can show support along the procession route.
A map of the route is available on the city of Plymouth website
Sept. 13, 2017