Topeka Police Officer Charles Joseph Bohlender Jr. (Courtesy Photo/Topeka Police Department)

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Twenty-two years ago today two Topeka police officers were killed in a helicopter crash while on duty. Today, the Topeka Police Department remembers their legacies.

Topeka Police Officers Charles Joseph Bohlender Jr. and Jeff William Howey were in a helicopter assisting ground officers in a search after burglary alarms were set off at a home improvement store on June 13, 2000. The officers were circling the area in the air while ground officers were searching the store below.

Suddenly, the helicopter tried to make a turn, lost control for an unknown reason, and began to spiral downwards – eventually crashing into a field nearby and catching on fire. The two officers were killed in the crash.

Officer Charles Joseph Bohlender Jr. had served as an officer for 9 years, during which he served in the patrol division, the anti-crime team, the SCAT/narcotics unit, the special response team, and the motorcycle unit.

Officer Jeff William Howey (Courtesy Photo/Topeka Police Officer)

Officer Bohlender had recently joined the helicopter unit in May of 2000. He was also awarded the department’s Medal of Valor in 1996 and 1999. Officer Bohlender was 33 years old at the time of his death and was survived by his wife Linda and their three children.

Officer Jeff William Howey served as an officer for eight years during which he served in the uniform patrol division until transferring to the helicopter unit in October of 1998.

Officer Howey received the department’s Commendation Bar in 1996 and had previously served a combined seventeen years with the U.S. Army and U.S. Army National Guard. He was survived by his wife Nina and two daughters.

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