NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A line of police cars provided a hero’s escort for a fallen Kansas City, Missouri, K9 officer.
Dozens of officers lined up with flashing lights to escort K9 Champ from North Kansas City Animal Control to an area funeral home.
Champ died in a crash with his Kansas City police partner, Officer James Muhlbauer.
The two were hit and killed when another driver 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 be with Muhlbauer.
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 pictures of the arrival.
“When I was with Kansas City, I was the commander of the narcotics unit and we had dogs and there is just such a special bond between the handler and their dog. They truly are their partner,” Jan Zimmerman, SAFE Director, said.
Zimmerman may be chief of SAFE now, but she was once an officer and knows the pain KCPD is dealing with.
“The first 33 years of my law enforcement career was with Kansas City, and I feel Kansas City is still my department and Officer Muhlbauer is part of my family,” said Zimmerman. “It’s important first and foremost so that the first responders can know that the community is in support of them at a time where the community is mourning the loss of a first responder.”
SAFE, the Surviving Spouse and Family Endowment Fund is presenting a check to Muhlbauer’s family in the coming days.
Donations are also being accepted for the family through the Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 99.
Funeral arrangements for Champ and Muhlbauer are still being planned.
Jackson County Prosecutors charged Jerron Allen Lightfoot, 18, of Tonganoxie, Kansas, with two counts of first-degree involuntary manslaughter in the deadly crash.