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Kansas City area police escort K9 Champ after a fatal accident

NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A lineup of police cars provided a hero escort for a fallen Kansas City, Mo canine officer.

Dozens of officers lined up with flashing lights to escort K9 Champ from North Kansas City Animal Control to an area funeral home.

HAPPEN NOW: KCPD K9, Champ, is escorted by NKC Animal Control. Champ is the police dog killed along with his companion Ofc. James Muhlbauer during a crash Wednesday night. @fox4kc pic.twitter.com/ZZh1KyKj97

— Tia Johnson FOX4 KC (@TiaJohnsonTV) February 17, 2023

Champ died in an accident with fellow Kansas City Police Officer James Muhlbauer.

The two were shot and killed when another motorist allegedly ran a red light at East Truman Road and Benton Boulevard Wednesday night.

North Kansas City Police officers responded to the crash and escorted Champ’s body to stay with Muhlbauer.

The officers then escorted the K9 to animal control. The North Kansas City Police Department said one of its officers has been by Champ’s side since the K9 officer died.

Other K9s and officers greeted the escort at the funeral home. The Clay County Sheriff’s Office provided photos of the arrival.

“When I was in Kansas City, I was the narcotics unit commander and we had dogs and there is such a special bond between the handler and their dog. I am truly their partner,” said Jan Zimmerman, director of SAFE.

Zimmerman may be the head of SAFE now, but he was once an officer and knows the pain the KCPD is going through.

“The first 33 years of my law enforcement career were with Kansas City, and I feel Kansas City is still my department and Officer Muhlbauer is a part of my family,” Zimmerman said. “It’s important first so first responders can know that the community supports them at a time when the community mourns the loss of a first responder.”

SAFE, the Surviving Spouse and Family Endowment Fund will present a check to Muhlbauer’s family in the coming days.

Donations are also accepted for the family through Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 99.

Funerals for Champ and Muhlbauer are still scheduled.

Jackson County prosecutors charged Jerron Allen Lightfoot, 18, of Tonganoxie, Kansas, with two counts of first-degree manslaughter in the fatal crash.

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