KANSAS CITY, Mo. -Former Kansas City, Missouri Police Department Major Jan Zimmerman remembers his time with the department like it was yesterday.
He started out as a forwarder in 1979, decided to enroll in the academy and then went on to serve three decades in the ranks.
“It’s hard to describe being part of a family, that’s why any loss is really hard,” Zimmerman said.
Especially the loss of an agent he worked with.
Zimmerman remembers Officer James Muhlbauer, who was killed in the line of duty Wednesday night.
“He had been in the department for several years, so I definitely knew who he was,” Zimmerman said. “A fantastic officer, you know, he’s worked hard and had a really great career and he’s a terrible loss to the department and the community.”
After retiring from the KCPD, Zimmerman continued to serve as chief of police for the city of Raymore.
It put paid-for tragedies like this take on a department into perspective.
“We’re not naive enough to think we’re not going to lose anyone,” Zimmerman said. support as you can because I guarantee you that all people with KCPD are suffering today.”
Zimmerman now works with the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission.
One of the programs it provides is called the Surviving Spouse and Family Endowment, an initiative that was started in 2003 to pay an allowance to the families of fallen first responders.
If a member of the local police, fire and EMS in the 12 counties covered loses their life in the line of duty, the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission will be there within 24 to 48 hours to provide the family with $25,000.
“The purpose of that quick response is to make sure those families aren’t worried about how they’re going to pay their rent or how they’re going to buy groceries,” Zimmerman said. needs and we don’t want them thinking about money at a time when they have so much else to worry about.”
All money used for the SAFE fund comes from donations and fundraising events like Guns and Hoses.
“The crime commission’s website is kc-crime.org, and there’s actually a button right on our website where they can donate directly to make sure there’s funds available when we lose a first responder,” Zimmerman said.