By Jeff Fox

Independence police are struggling this week with the grief of a lost colleague, Officer James Lockard.

“He was very well respected in his patrol,” said Capt. Paul Thurman, who supervised Lockard at one point.

Lockard was hunting in northwestern Missouri on Saturday when a tree fell – winds were high – and struck the ATV he was riding. He was flown to a St. Joseph hospital but died Sunday. He was 34.

Thurman said Tuesday that Lockard’s family was doing well given the circumstances.

The city has ordered flags at half-staff through sundown Friday, and funeral arrangements have been set. Visitation is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at East Side Baptist Church, 19901 Missouri 78 in Independnece. The funeral is at 3 p.m. Friday at the Community of Christ Auditorium at Walnut Avenue and River Boulevard in Indepednence. Both events are open to the public.

Lockard, a military veteran, came to the department in 2008. He worked patrol and, Thurman said, set a goal of getting on the Special Response Team – a goal he achieved. Thurman said he was personable and charismatic.

“It’s a pretty big loss,” Thurman said. “He did everything right.”

A fund has been set up to aid the family with expenses. Donations can be sent to:

James Lockard Memorial c/o Code One Credit Union PO Box 270020 Kansas City, Mo. 64127