KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Family, friends, law enforcement and the community gathered Wednesday to pay tribute to Kansas City Police Officer James Muhlbauer and K9 Officer Champ.
Hundreds of police cars from departments throughout the region were involved in the procession which ended at the Municipal Auditorium around 9 in the morning and where the private funerals were held at 11:30
Following the memorial service, Muhlbauer and Champ were presented with full honors outside the auditorium on 13th Street.
Muhlbauer and Champ were killed last week when another driver hit the patrol vehicle they were in.
Muhlbauer, a 20-year veteran of the Kansas City Police Department, and K9 officer Champ were patrolling near the intersection of Truman Road and Benton Boulevard at the time of the incident. Their vehicle crashed into a pedestrian, 52-year-old Jesse Eckes, who also died.
After the memorial service, a dispatcher shared the last call for Muhlbauer and Champ over the Kansas City Police radio, signaling the end of the watch.
Last Radio Call for Officer James Muhlbauer (Audio courtesy of Broadcastify)
“Calling K9 85, Agent Muhlbauer and K9 Champion. Kansas City, Missouri Police Department Police Officer James Muhlbauer, a 20-year veteran, has served the citizens of Kansas City, Missouri faithfully. His fellow officer and partner, K9 Champ, was a year-long veteran of the department. Jim and Champ stuck it out, protecting us and your community. You have been strong, you have served honor, and you have served integrity. You will be missed by your fellow officers and your community. Jim and Champ, take it easy. We have it from here. Kansas City K9 85 Officer James Muhlbauer and K9 Champ, 10-42 for the last time, February 15, 2023.”
Jerron Allen Lightfoot, 18, of Tonganoxie, Kansas, is charged with two counts of first-degree manslaughter in the incident.
Lightfoot posted bond two days after the crash. He is expected to be back in court on February 27th.