BELLEVUE, Neb. (KMTV) — Four months after a Kansas City police officer died in the line of duty, the Bellevue native is being honored by his hometown.
Vernon and Chris Muhlbauer’s neighborhood on Lillian Street is full of happy memories; it's been home for the past 36 years.
They first moved to the area in 1987 and raised their four children there, including their oldest, Jim. At the time, many young families were moving into the new neighborhood.
Vernon remembers his son among the many kids playing various sports in the street, celebrating holidays together and going to school together. They stayed close.
“Some of the fellas that grew up here are still very good friends of his,” Vernon said.
When Jim graduated from Bryan High School in 1999, a neighbor who'd joined the Kansas City Police Department told him the department was hiring. Jim applied and quickly got the job. His mother Chris said there was a reason he chose not to become a cop in Bellevue or Omaha.
“He did not want us to worry when there was an incident,” she said. “When there was an incident he would call us and let us know he was okay.”
Last February, that call didn’t come.
Jim, and his K-9 partner Champ, were on patrol when a car ran a red light at an intersection and struck them. They both died in the crash along with another pedestrian.
Now, Bellevue is making sure Jim's memory isn’t forgotten. Lillian Street, from S. 48th Street to S. 49th Avenue, will be renamed after him. His family couldn’t be more proud, not only of their son, but of the support shown by neighbors and his fellow officers.
“Law enforcement really is a family, we found out that Jim has a second family.”
Jim’s friends and family ask everyone in the community to fly American flags in his honor.
Watch the Thursday afternoon service below: