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West Jordan Public Safety Director Kal O. Farr has presented a top departmental honor, the Public Safety Star, to Officer John Matthies for his pursuit of a fleeing motorist Jan. 23 - among other things.

In making the presentation, Farr pointed to the officer's many other meritorious actions.

When Matthies and several other officers used their patrol cars to box in a man driving a stolen car, the motorist rammed Matthies' car and another patrol car. Matthies, injured in the collision, pursued the motorist until the fleeing vehicle went out of control. Matthies then used his car to pin the other vehicle against a bridge abutment.

"In reviewing Officer Matthies' employment record it is evident that John has been involved in several situations in his career that would warrant singling out as meritorious," Farr reported to the City Council.

Matthies contracted hepatitis in February 1987 after assisting a heart attack victim who had the disease. Three years ago, Matthies was held hostage by an armed, mentally ill man who was engaged in a dispute with a neighbor.

"In these situations and many others, Officer Matthies' unselfish determination to aid others even at the peril of his own welfare demonstrates his commitment," Farr wrote in his recommendation.

Farr said Matthies is the department's first recipient of the Public Safety Star, one of the top three honors the department can bestow on an officer.