Southwest officer risks life, earns commendation

Fifth Precinct Captain Kris Arneson has awarded Officer Matthew St. George a Medal of Commendation for his role in stopping a robbery and assault in the Whittier neighborhood in early November.

The award recommendation states that on Nov. 2, at approximately 5 p.m., St. George and his partner Officer Scott Downing observed a man peering into vehicles on the 2000 block of 4th Avenue, so they drove closer to get a better look.

The officers then observed a man allegedly harassing a couple and their three young children, grabbing the female victim. Officers flashed lights in their squad, trying to deter the man, but he struck the woman’s companion in the head and threw him on the ground.

St. George and Downing jumped from their squad, then the female victim alerted them that the suspect had a knife. St. George reportedly drew his gun and demanded the suspect get on the ground.

The suspect refused and while clutching the knife began moving closer to the woman who was lying on the ground a few feet away. Downing continued to yell commands at the suspect when St. George "without regard for his own safety" rushed in and whacked the suspect on the head with his weapon.

The suspect fell to the ground and St. George and Downing took him into custody. Officers arrested the alleged assailant, Bobbie Cooper, 47, on the charge of assault with a dangerous weapon.

The recommendation concluded reading, "The officers exercised bravery in the face of danger as they surely were justified to use deadly force by discharging their service weapons. Instead, Officer St. George demonstrated obvious self-sacrifice in the face of death or serious physical injury."

Arneson said Downing is also being considered for the award for his work in the incident. Officers remarked that an award of this kind is not as common as it used to be.