KANSAS CITY, Mo — There has been an outpouring of support in recent days for Officer Muhlbauer and his canine companion Champ, who died in a fatal accident Wednesday night.
In a community of people mourning their loss, perhaps those who feel it most deeply are other men and women in blue.
“It’s a shame, you know, what we do for a living, it’s pretty tough,” said Brad Lemon, president of the Local Fraternal Order of Police. “It says something very special about a family who would choose to have a job when the world, sometimes, just wasn’t there for us.”
Lemon hopes Muhlbauer’s death is a reminder for people to wake up every day and choose to make smart decisions.
While it’s hard to define what “justice” is, he hopes prosecutors and judges will continue to enforce what’s necessary for a man who gave his all.
“He truly believed in what he did every single day. I mean, he believed in coming to work and being the best police officer he could be and giving the city everything he had,” Lemon said. I mean, not everyone wants to be a canine agent — that’s a lot.
Lemon spoke of the special bonds between dog officers and their handlers, recalling the amount of support and respect that was in the hospital room the night of the incident.
“The dog unit was all there and dog units came from all over Metro,” Lemon said. “Yes, they’re hurt. And they’re probably hurting differently than other people do, because they spend so much time together training and working together and you develop those special bonds in that kind of unit that are unlike anywhere else.”
FOP has launched an online fundraiser to help Muhlbauer’s family during these difficult times. He leaves behind his wife and children.
“We would really appreciate any help we can get,” Lemon said. “Our wives know what we do for a living, but the kids struggle differently. It’s different for them.”