A Maplewood police officer has been given the highest national award a civilian public safety officer can receive.

Officer Julie Olson received the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder presented her with the award.

"Her selfless dedication and bravery under extreme pressure is a great example of what it means to be a public servant, and I am proud that she has received this great honor," Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said in a written statement.

In a news release, Holder called the medal "one of our nation's most prestigious decorations." Olson was one of 18 recipients this year.

Olson was with North St. Paul officer Richard Crittenden on Labor Day 2009 when he was fatally shot with his own handgun by a domestic abuse suspect.

Olson was shot and wounded, but returned fire and fatally shot the suspect.