Sergeant Matthew Hand

John Burke

Matthew Hand
Virginia State Police

He grew up in a small country town playing golf as often as he could and dreaming of joining the Air Force one day, partly to follow in his grandparents’ footsteps, largely so he could fly at breakneck speeds in a jet. Since Matt is a homebody, the idea of going far away from home was enough to lend to a career change and land him in the Virginia State Police Academy 14th Basic Session. Matt immediately became a leader in his area in DUI and drug arrests and received numerous awards. After he rode with some guys from a Counter-Terrorism & Criminal Interdiction Unit (CCI), interdiction became his focus. Once he made a few large currency and drug seizures, he was hooked!

In 2012, when he joined Area 73 CCI team as a K-9 handler, he felt like he’d finally found his place. He loved every minute of being a K-9 handler with his partner, Cash. Matt’s career case was in 2014 when he seized 17 kilos of heroin. It was the largest heroin seizure in the country that year, and he received two national awards. In 2017, Matt promoted to Special Agent on Area 75 CCI team. It was during this time as Special Agent that he experienced the most difficult times of his career. His team was involved in a pursuit and shooting that led to the death of their canine team member, Vader. Soon after he returned to the road, he was involved in another traumatic pursuit that involved deep and painful loss.

He is now a sergeant of a CCI team and is a sought-after leader. As a police officer, Matt is one of the good ones. His good morals and values carry over into his work. Leadership comes naturally to him as he enjoys serving all those around him and helping them be the best version of themselves. He’s the kind of guy everyone wants to emulate and the kind of teammate you can always count on. His professionalism and calm presence bring peace of mind and trust to his teammates and everyone he interacts with on duty. He remains even-tempered in situations where many cannot and excels in split-second decision making. He is honest, he has good instincts, and he’s always learning from those around him. He’s known for having the gift of interdiction and can spot a loose bolt on a license plate a mile away.

Matt is empathetic. He has deep compassion for others. He sees humans in sometimes their worst moments and treats them with respect while carrying out the duties of his job. He is firm, but fair. He’s a great mentor and a proficient report writer, often helping others with their reports. He will do whatever it takes to get the job done and get it done correctly.

Matt is a great dad, interdictor, and partner.


As a man, he is confident but humble, and he is most dedicated to his family. He is smart and driven like his mom, and he’s a hard worker who loves slapstick comedy like his dad. He has a bit of a temper, mostly instigated by other drivers, or really anything if he has not had enough sleep.

Matt is the most loving and gentle husband and dad. The kind that kisses boo boos and leaves love notes, the kind that slow dances in the kitchen and sings bedtime songs. He cooks dinner, wakes with the babies in the night (foregoing said precious sleep), and puts up a mean ponytail. He loves a baby on his chest and HATES for someone to lie to him. He’s the fun dad on the playground. He has walked the hard road of foster care and adoption for our family. He loves to come home and tell stories of a case or golf shot that he’s made.

Matt will be humbled to be included among the brave men and women here. He is faithful to his calling and to the badge. It is a calling that has not come without tragedy, heartbreak, criticism and regrets. It has taken a toll on this steadfast man before you. But it has also brought him great reward, camaraderie and life-long friendships. I am thankful for the opportunity to honor Matt’s service and sacrifice. Even on the worst days, Matt is proud to serve the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia. And if anyone wants to hook him up with the jet ride, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind!

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