Type of Officer: Police Officer
Jurisdiction: Topeka
County: Shawnee
Death Date: 6/13/2000
Added to Memorial: 2001
Circumstances of Death: Helicopter Accident
On the night of June 13, 2000, Officer Charles Joseph “Joey” Bohlender, Jr., a member of the Topeka Police Department’s helicopter unit, was killed when the helicopter he was riding in crashed while responding to a burglary call. Officer Bohlender and Officer Jeff William Howey were assisting ground units searching for a reported burglary at a southwest Topeka business. The officers were flying in a circular pattern around the business at an altitude of 1500 feet. As the officers were maneuvering a turn over an open elevated field west of the business, the helicopter went out of control for an unknown reason and crashed. During his nine-year career with the Topeka Police Department, Officer Bohlender served in the patrol division, the anti-crime team, the SCAT/narcotics unit, the special response team, and the motorcycle unit. He had been a member of the helicopter unit since May 13, 2000. He twice was awarded the department’s Medal of Valor, in 1996 and 1999. Officer Bohlender was thirty-three years old at the time of his death. He is survived by his wife Linda and three children.