Submitted by Greg Premo, Police Chief.
I am sad to report that the University Place community has lost a valued and dedicated volunteer. Don Cooper, who donated countless hours of his time to the U.P. Police Department for nearly 20 years, passed away on March 15.
?Throughout his years as a volunteer, Don worked under five different police chiefs and meticulously managed the City’s registered sex offenders’ verification records as well as the school bus paddle violation program. As a trusted and dependable member of our public safety team, he was officially recognized by the City Council in October 2019 upon his “retirement” from his volunteer role.
But Don’s generosity to University Place will continue on. His wife of 57 years, Barbara, recently contacted us to let us know that she would like to fund the purchase of a new K-9 dog and vest for service through the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, of which UPPD is a contract agency. The $10,000 gift comes at a perfect time, given that one of the PCSD’s four K-9 dogs is getting old and may likely leave active duty within the next year.
“This is exactly what Don would have wanted,” Barbara said. “When I thought about his life and where his happiest volunteer place was, it was with the U.P. Police Department. He loved it.”
Barbara and her family have chosen a name for the new dog: Rainier. Don worked on the mountain during school breaks and would go on to summit its peak three times. “He had a love affair with that mountain. In fact, I often called it the third person in our marriage,” Barbara joked.
“Every once in a while we are fortunate to have someone cross our paths who leaves such a lasting impression that even when they are gone, their spirit stays with us,” said Jennifer Hales, public safety administrator for the City of University Place. “There is no doubt that Don was that kind of person.”