LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) - LMPD is mourning the loss of one its own. Police said Detective Jason Schweitzer was hit and killed by a drunk driver in Lexington early Saturday morning. Another man was also killed.
WHAS11 sat down with Metro Councilman and former LMPD officer David James Saturday afternoon. He's known Schweitzer for 17 years and first met him when he was a teenager working in the FOP kitchen. James said Schweitzer's dad is a retired officer and also served with the FOP. He said he always wanted to follow in his father's footsteps.
“Jason modeled himself that way to be a great man and to carry on the tradition of policing and making his career and his life’s work to serve others," James said.
James said Schweitzer was asking a city employee for directions to a local restaurant in Lexington when a suspected drunk driver lost control of her car, drove up on the sidewalk, and killed both of them.
The driver survived, but is still in the hospital and facing multiple manslaughter charges as well as a DUI.
James said he really got to know Schweitzer as a recruit and even helped train him. He last saw him this past summer when he was supporting other officers.
“He felt like that was his calling to serve other people, whether it was the police officers or the citizens. He and I had a conversation once where we were talking about serving the citizens, and he felt like it was his personal responsibility to make sure that people on his beat were safe. He took it personally if their house got broken into while he was working. He took it personally if someone got injured on his beat while he was working. He took that personally to heart," James said. “As far as he looked it, he was their guardian to make sure everybody was okay. That’s to be admired. He was in service to his comrades and his brothers and sisters, his family.”
James said Schweitzer was very well-known and liked in the department and community.
“People that joined the police department would always talk about Jason and they admired him and wanted to be like him in their career. He was that guy that you would always say ‘I’m really proud of him,’ and Jason was just an outstanding man," James said. "He has left a mark on our city, on our community, on all the officers that we will always remember.”
James said if anybody was to look up police officer in the dictionary, Schweitzer's picture and name would be there.
“He lived and breathed it," James said. “That’s what he wanted to do was just be a good, good police officer and you know, he strived for that.”
He called his dear friend a social butterfly and epitome of a family man. He said Schweitzer had a young daughter and another child on the way.
“He was just a really outstanding guy, had a personality that was high-energy, full of fun and excitement, and always could find a bright spot in any conversation. If you know Jason, he becomes a best friend in a short period of time. He just had that personality," James said.
When asked how Schweitzer would want to be remembered, James said he'd want everyone to be kind and good to one another like he always tried to do.
“You know, I think Jason would want a good police funeral. I think he’d want you to toast to his name, raise a glass, and to carry out his legacy by being good FOP members and being good professional police officers and treating people the way that he would want you to treat them, and they would want to be treated," James said. “I know that I was a better person for knowing Jason.”
Since Schweitzer was in Lexington for an FOP conference and doing police work, James said this should be considered a line of duty death. It's not clear yet if that will be the official classification, but James said his funeral will be treated that way with the full honors usually seen when an officer gets killed on the job.
Officials said the other victim's name will be released after his family is notified.
Statement from FOP President Dave Mutchler:
The members of River City FOP Lodge 614 are shocked and devastated by the unexpected and tragic loss of our brother Jason Schweitzer. Jason was a dedicated police officer and detective for the past fifteen years and served as the Vice President of RCFOP Lodge 614 for the past seven years. He was very passionate about representing members as an executive board member of the FOP, but nothing was more important to Jason than his family. He leaves behind a wife, who is expecting their second child, a young daughter, and many other family members. We mourn this senseless loss of life and continue to grieve with our brother and sister officers from around the state and the nation. We humbly ask that everyone would keep Jason’s family in your thoughts and prayers and respect their wishes for privacy during this very difficult time.