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Surviving Spouse and Family Endowment Fund helps family of deceased KCPD officer

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Family, friends, fellow law enforcement officers and community members prepare for a memorial service for deceased Officer James Mulbauer and his K-9 partner Champ this Wednesday.

The officer, his K-9, and Jesse Ackes, who was a pedestrian in the area, were killed in a fatal crash on February 15 near Truman Road and Benton Boulevard.

“The community is heartbroken over the loss of Officer Muhlbauer and his K-9 champion,” said Jan Zimmerman, director of the Surviving Spouse and Family Endowment Fund. “KCPD has been my department for 33 years, this is especially hard.”

The retired police chief of Raymore now helps the families of rescuers who died in the line of duty. Zimmerman, director of the Surviving Spouse and Family Endowment Fund, known as SAFE, says the organization aims to alleviate family financial worries to allow them to focus on grief.

“Our mission is to be there when tragedy strikes and we can pay this benefit to the family so they don’t have to worry about how I’m going to pay bills, food, rent,” Zimmerman said. “To be able to take care of each other and take care of each other and not worry about money.”

SAFE operates solely on donations and fundraising events. Since 2003, they have helped 40 emergency families.

“We have suffered many losses since the launch of the program. This is so important that we can continue to support these families,” Zimmerman said. “People in the community want to help. They want to do something. They want to feel like they’ve done something to make a difference.”

To donate to SAFE, visit here.

The funeral for Officer James Muhlbauer and K-9 Champ will be held Wednesday at City Hall. The public visit will take place from 9:30 am to 11:00 am. The funeral service will follow the visit at 11:30. After the memorial service, the full honors will be presented outside on 13th Street in front of the auditorium. Parking for citizens wishing to attend the funeral will be on a first-come, first-served basis at the Barney Allis Plaza underground parking garage, accessible from Wyandotte south of W. 12th Street. After the funeral. The funeral procession will leave on 13th to Broadway, NB to Broadway to the Buck O’Neill Bridge which becomes 169 Hwy, NB to 169 Hwy exiting Vivion Road, EB to Vivion to Antioch, NB to Antioch to 64th , EB on 64 becomes Antioch.

The Kansas City Missouri Police Fraternal Order Lodge 99 set up a fund to help the family of Officer Muhlbauer.

Prosecutors charged 19-year-old Jerron Allen Lightfoot with two counts of first-degree manslaughter after a fatal crash. Prosecutors say the details of the crash were released two seconds before the accident. Lightfoot was driving over 89 mph in the 35 mph zone.

Witnesses and surveillance video from nearby businesses showed Lightfoot ran a red light before crashing into an officer’s patrol car, according to court records. Lightfoot’s car’s electronic system showed that his car’s brakes were working before the accident. Lightfoot posted 10% of his $30,000 bond. Lightfoot is expected to appear in court again next week for a bail review hearing.

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