KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Monday morning, Aug. 7, I was invited to be a part of a special moment for Kansas City, Missouri, police officer Tyler Moss.
More than three years ago, on July 2, 2020, Moss and his partner responded to a call to help resolve a disturbance involving an armed man.
It would be Moss' last day in the field.
As Moss and his partner responded to the call in the area of East 31st Street and Van Brunt Boulevard, the suspect opened fire.
Moss was struck in the head.
Fellow officers rushed him to Truman Medical Center, where he was initially given just a 1 percent chance at surviving.
In the last three years, it's been an honor to get to know Moss and check in on his progress toward recovery.
It's a recovery that allowed Moss to return to KCPD in a limited capacity the past couple years.
On Monday, in a room full of family, friends, and many of the officers and doctors who helped save his life, Moss was honored in a medical retirement ceremony.
"The people that helped Tyler that day, it was seven minutes and 33 seconds from the time he got shot to the time that they were doing medical care on him," KCPD Capt. Nate Simecek recalled Monday.
Deputy Chief Doug Niemier was among those who spoke during Monday's ceremony.
"There were a lot of heroes on that day, many of which are in this room," Niemier said. "Tyler and I both want to thank all of you."
"Thinking back to July 2 of 2020 and thinking I would be standing here today having this? I wouldn’t have believed it, but I believe it now," KCPD Maj. Paul Luster said. "You’re an inspiration to all of us and it’s been an honor to work with you."
Moss told me it felt great to have the entire department's support, back in 2020 and now in 2023.
"The thing is you know, you never know when life is going to throw you a curve ball," he told me. "I never expected this day to come, but seeing everyone out here today supporting me and telling me how much I meant to them has been a true blessing and an inspiration. That’s really all I can ask for."
Moss admits it was a difficult decision to take medical retirement and leave a career he was so passionate about.
But, he's not leaving the department he loves behind completely. He's staying on as a civilian employee, working with evidence as an inventory control specialist.
He'll also continue to visit new recruits at the Kansas City Regional Police Academy, offering them advice and inspiration, much as he has these past three years since the shooting.
"The whole time Tyler was with us at the Academy, the moment of impact he's had on those recruits, I don’t know if you’ll even know how much impact you had on those young officers, or those officers training to be officers," Luster told Moss.
One thing that officers of all ages agree upon? Moss' incredible attitude.
"I will say this; Anybody who’s been around I have never once not one time heard a negative thing out of Taylor’s mouth," Deputy Chief Niemeier said.
"From your first day of saving a life to your heroic actions on July 2nd, it cannot be understated. You have been an inspiration to so many of us, even to this day," KCPD Chief of Police Stacey Graves said. "You have always been a positive light, you always have a smile on your face.
"I can’t thank you enough for being such an inspiration, showing your resilience to all of KCPD."
Moss says much of this is a testament to his faith.
"I would say that’s been the biggest part that’s gotten me through," he told me. "There’s been a lot of rough days, and a lot of sad days, and a lot of days of mixed emotions. But one thing that’s gotten me through is my faith."
He also credits his family and their unwavering support.
For his retirement ceremony, he was joined by his parents, his sister, his girlfriend, aunt, uncle, cousin and his grandmother.
However, one person was missing from the front row for this ceremony, his beloved grandfather, an army veteran who'd long been a source of inspiration for Moss.
"His grandfather was an important part of his life, and had the honor of pinning the badge on him as he graduated from the police academy," his grandmother shared.
But, his grandfather was still there in spirit.
"This is my grandpa's suit, look how snazzy it is?" Moss said as he stood in front of the crowd.
And, not only was he wearing his grandfather's suit, he also carried his picture in his pocket, a nod to his own personal hero, and another way to bring his career full circle.
At the end of his ceremony, he was able to make one final call over the radio, marking his official end of service:
Tyler Moss: "This is Officer Tyler Moss, serial #5911. I want to thank you, all the members of the Kansas City Missouri police department, for your dedication to this profession and your support of me. Everyone stay safe and I will be 1042."
Dispatch: "For his five years of service to the Kansas City Missouri police department, while your time as an officer was short, and due to circumstances beyond your control, the legacy you leave behind will carry on forever. Thank you for showing us what it means to be courageous, brave and honorable. You fought, and continue to fight a battle none of us can understand, and you do it with a positive attitude and inspiring heart. We are all so proud of you. It is my honor and privilege to advise that you are 1042."