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Gutknecht: Officer Cooper is far from ‘routine’

Servant (n): a devoted and helpful follower or supporter.

I believe much can be said about a person based on the feedback received in a time of need. Based on the feedback and support shown for Covington Police Officer Matt Cooper this past week, it is apparent he is not only an outstanding police officer, but a good guy all around.

A military veteran, medic and police officer, Matt Cooper has always lived a life of service.

Before Monday’s incident, but even more so after the incident, I have heard law enforcement officers say, “There’s no such thing as a routine call.” I don’t think I ever full understood that until this week.

Officer Cooper, alongside other CPD officers, was responding to a shoplifting call Monday afternoon. This probably wasn’t the first, or even second, time these officers had been to the superstore in reference to someone taking something without paying. They were probably familiar with the loss control employees in the store and the layout of the cash registers. For what it’s worth, it probably seemed as “routine” as it can be.

This call was far from “routine,” however. This call and the moments following sent a shockwave through the country.

The Cooper family, the Covington Police Department, city of Covington, Newton County, state of Georgia and beyond faced the tragic news that one of its most dedicated servants had been wounded while working to provide protection to the community we’ve come to know and love.

As a result of the incident, Matt Cooper has a bullet lodged near his carotid artery. Since I am not a doctor, a quick Google search led me to more specific information about the anatomy of the carotid artery.

Everyone has two carotid arteries – one on each side of the neck – that are major blood vessels that supply blood to the brain, neck and face. When someone is checking for a pulse on the neck, the carotid artery is what they’re looking for. It is a lifeline.

I pray for Matt, the Cooper family, Covington Police Department and the doctors at Grady Memorial Hospital who have been entrusted with his care. The stress they’re enduring as a result of this incident is something I don’t think anyone will ever be able to fully wrap their minds around.

To Matt I would like to say: Your community is behind you 100 percent. We are safe and we are doing everything we can to make you proud. Keep fighting.

Jackie Gutknecht is the editor and publisher of The Covington News. She can be reached at or 770-728-1409. Twitter: @jackieg1991