KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Family, friends, law enforcement and the community gathered Wednesday to pay their respects to Kansas City Police Officer James Muhlbauer and K9 Officer Champ.
Hundreds of police cars from departments across the region were involved in the procession that ended at Municipal Auditorium around 9 a.m. and where a private funeral was held at 11:30 a.m.
Following the funeral service, Muhlbauer and Champ were presented with full honors outside of 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 crash. Their vehicle crashed into a pedestrian, 52-year-old Jesse Eckes, who also died.
After the funeral service, a dispatcher shared the last call for Muhlbauer and Champ over the Kansas City police radio, marking their end of watch.
Last radio call for Officer James Muhlbauer (Audio courtesy Broadcastify)
“Calling K9 85, Officer Muhlbauer and K9 Champ. Kansas City, Missouri Police Department police officer James Muhlbauer, a 20-year veteran, faithfully served the citizens of Kansas City, Missouri. His fellow officer and partner, K9 Champ, was a one-year veteran of the department. Jim and Champ stood the line, protecting us and your community. You stood strong, you served honor and you served integrity. You will be missed by your fellow officers and by your community. Jim and Champ, rest easy. We’ve got it from here. Kansas City K9 85 Officer James Muhlbauer and K9 Champ, 10-42 for the final time, Feb. 15, 2023.”
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Jerron Allen Lightfoot, 18, of Tonganoxie, Kansas, is charged with two counts of first-degree involuntary manslaughter in the crash.
Lightfoot posted bond two days after the crash. He is scheduled to be in court again on Feb. 27.