OLATHE, Kan. -- The Olathe Police Department is mourning the loss of one of its own, just as he was preparing to help escort President Obama on his trip to Kansas.
Traffic Motor Officer Michael Kern, 43, suffered an apparent heart attack on Tuesday. FOX 4 spoke with an emergency room nurse on Thursday who says Olathe Medical Center also feels like they lost one of their own.
Emergency room doctors and nurses at OMC work closely with police officers who often bring in people in custody, or in need of care. The emergency room nurse on duty the night Officer Kern was brought in said it was a sad day, but it was also heartwarming to see the love shared between the men and women in blue.
Officer Kern was a 13-year veteran of the Olathe Police Department. The department said he collapsed in the driveway of his home Tuesday while detailing his motorcycle in preparation for President Obama's visit to the University of Kansas.
Nurse Denice Lawson said HIPAA laws prevent her from talking about Officer Kern as a patient, but she described the outpouring of love she saw displayed by his fellow officers.
“They stood outside the door just like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. There was somebody out there the whole time, standing guard just outside his door protecting him,” Lawson said.
Lawson said normally only two people are allowed to visit, but the head nurse opened the family room to allow the officers to come inside
“It was so sad, but heartwarming to see all these people there and praying, just being supportive of each other, trying to help each other get through this,” she said.
Pastor Clint Sprague from Life Church in Olathe said Officer Kern was a member of his church and served on the church's security detail.
“He was a man's man in every way,” Pastor Sprague said. “Life is short; there's no guarantee for tomorrow. So each day we lie is precious and Mike lived it that way. He loved his kids, loved his wife, his community and he's going to be missed.”
Pastor Sprague says Officer Kern leaves behind a wife, a 22-year-old son and two daughters, ages 19 and seven. His visitation will be held next Monday at Life Church from 5 to 8 p.m., and he will be laid to rest on Tuesday at 10 a.m.