Officer's father: 'They risk their lives and limbs to protect'

Officer's father: 'They risk their lives and limbs to protect'

EUGENE, Ore. -- Around the Eugene Police Department Officer, Chris Kilcullen was known as a talkative, relentlessly cheerful and well-liked cop. But those closest to him saw him in a different light as a husband, father and son.

“He liked to take care of people and help people,” said Kilcullen’s father John Kilcullen. “He’s always been that way ever since he was a kid.”

Kilcullen died after authorities said a woman shot him during a traffic stop. It happened late Friday afternoon after a police pursuit ending at the intersection of Highway 126 and 52nd Street in Springfield.

Police arrested Cheryl Kidd of Springfield and booked her early Saturday morning at the Lane County Jail on a murder charge.

For Kilcullen, the duty to serve and protect went beyond his chosen career as a police officer, the profession ran in the family.

His father is a former law enforcement officer as are two of his cousins.

Kilcullen attended Willamette High School and attended the University of Oregon where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and psychology.

Police said Kilcullen was hired as a Eugene Police Officer in 1998.

Kilcullen leaves behind a wife and two children.

His father, John Kilcullen, said Chris met his wife while working at EPD when she went on a “ride-along” with him.

Chris Kilcullen took a traffic enforcement position so he could spend more time with his family.

Kilcullen’s father said he previously worried that if Chris were ever injured it would happen in a traffic accident, but he never thought Chris’ life would end with a shooting.

“It never dawned on me that he was going to get shot,” said Kilcullen. “It never even occurred to me. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t believe it until I went down and saw him.”

Police Chief Pete Kerns said Kilcullen loved his work, was very good at it, and that people who met him admired him.

The day after Kilcullen’s death that admiration took form in a roadside memorial.

Strangers and friends alike have paused to remember an officer, a public servant and a friend.

“I just want people to know that officers are like anyone else. They have families,” said Kilcullen. “They risk their lives and limbs to protect, unfortunately that’s what we saw yesterday.”

According to police, Kilcullen was awarded the Eugene Police Department’s Employee of the Month in May 2004 for having the highest activity level of any EPD patrol officer.

He received more than 85 commendations during his 12-year career and served on the department’s Crisis Intervention Team since 2008.