Out of 83 law enforcement officers who graduated from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy on Nov. 1, only one received the coveted Herman Freed Award for the best mental attitude. That honor went to Huntington County Deputy Matt Weicht, voted by his fellow classmates as the officer with the highest integrity, loyalty, ethics and attitude.
It's the first time a Huntington County deputy has received the award, presented to him by Gov. Mike Pence during the graduation ceremony.
"It's an honor to be chosen among your peers," Weicht says.
Weicht is now patrolling county roads as a full-time officer. He was formerly a motorcycle mechanic for 18 years and a construction manager for about 10 years after that. He says his brother, Paul, a reserve officer with Huntington County Sheriffs Department, first sparked his interest in law enforcement.
"I went out for a ride one night with my brother, and after that I was kind of hooked on it - the excitement," he says.
Matt Weicht served two years as a reserve officer with the department, then applied to the law enforcement academy to make the job his career.
Huntington County Sheriff Terry Stoffel was present at the graduation ceremony and says Weicht stood out from a group of multiple candidates who applied for the full-time deputy position with the county.
"He's a little older officer than some of the other ones that we've put on (the department). With that comes experience, level-headedness and he's done a phenomenal job for us as a reserve for the two years," Stoffel explains. "He represented this department very well, and obviously continued that when he went down to the academy."
Weicht lives in Huntington County and is a 1981 graduate of Huntington North High School. He is married and has a 9-year-old daughter.
Complete caption: Huntington County Sheriff Terry Stoffel (left) congratulates Deputy Matt Weicht, who holds the Herman Freed Award for best mental attitude presented to him by Gov. Mike Pence during his graduation from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy on Nov. 1. Weicht, who has served as a reserve deputy, now patrols Huntington County full time.