LMPD detective's legacy of helping contrasts with suspect's battles with the bottle

LMPD detective's legacy of helping contrasts with suspect's battles with the bottle
Det. Jason Schweitzer (Source: LMPD)
Det. Jason Schweitzer (Source: LMPD)
Timothy Moore (Source: Family photo)
Timothy Moore (Source: Family photo)
Suzanne Marie Whitlow in a 2014 mugshot (Source: LFUCG Community Corrections)
Suzanne Marie Whitlow in a 2014 mugshot (Source: LFUCG Community Corrections)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Fellow officers called him 'Schweitz', or 'the Cook.'

"He knew how to lighten a mood," LMPD 4th Division Detective Shaun Erie said. "He'd be mad at us right now because we're upset, we're mourning."

"We hang out, our wives and children all hang out together," Detective Jonathon Wood said.

Police work was family in blood and blue for Detective Jason Schweitzer, 37. He followed his father Steve into law enforcement, first with the former Jefferson County Police Department and then with Louisville Metro when the two forces combined as part of the city-county merger in 2003.

Schweitzer's work as Vice President for the River City Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police took him to Lexington last weekend. At 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, closing time for bars there, Lexington police said he and a University of Kentucky maintenance worker, Timothy Moore, were in the path of Suzanne Whitlow's Dodge Charger as they stood on a sidewalk near campus.

"I can't imagine that they ever saw it coming," River City FOP Lodge President Dave Mutchler told WAVE 3 News on Monday.

The more answers Mutchler learns, the angrier he grows.

"At some point, some people just don't get it," he said. "And they don't deserve to be out in society where they can harm and kill people."

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Court records show that Whitlow had completed treatment on September 18 as part of a plea deal to charges of driving under the influence in 2014. She had been stopped on a major Lexington thoroughfare, Tates Creek Road, for driving 22 miles over the speed limit. Her blood alcohol level registered 0.15, almost twice the legal limit.

Between her arrest and the case's final disposition, she'd returned to court for missing counseling appointments and failure to complete required community service.

Two days after Christmas in 2015, Whitlow posted on her Facebook page "replacing my heart with another liver so that I can drink more and care less."

"There has to be a line drawn somewhere," Mutchler said. "This person is not going to change their behavior. They're not learning from their own past. "

Whitlow's difficulties in Fayette County show up in 2009 with an arrest for theft by unlawful taking and two felony counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument. They led to a plea deal in 2010, court records show. Whitlow avoided a year in jail or prison by agreeing to five years probation, community service and substance abuse counseling.

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Subsequent court appearances reveal a threat to revoke her probation for failure to complete counseling, pay fines or complete community service.

"I don't know what changes might send a message, but we need to try," Mulcher said.

Schweitzer's most immediate legacy is his wife Jessica, daughter Avery, and son Jackson Charles, due in March.

"He was (in Lexington) conducting business for the Lodge, on behalf of the Louisville Metro Police officers. We think it could be considered a line-of-duty-death."

Neither LMPD nor Metro government officials have made it clear whether they declare it so; it's a distinction that would make a substantial difference in the aid available to Schweitzer's family.

"Undoubtedly, we'll be there forever for her family, for their children," Detective Wood said. "He would already know that all of us together will be there and take care of his family."

One friend has established the Schweitzer Emergency fund through GoFundMe. In the first nine hours, $23,193 had been pledged toward a $100,000 goal. The FOP Lodge 614 also is accepting contributions. 

Schweitzer's family will receive friends from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Ratterman Funeral Home, 12900 Shelbyville Road in Middletown. Funeral Mass will be at 1 p.m. on Wednesday at St. Michael Catholic Church, 3705 Stone Lakes Drive in Middletown.  A procession will follow to Cave Hill Cemetery for interment.

"We expect a large contingent," Mutchler said. "We also will have officers attending Mr. Moore's services in Lexington."

"Jason never met a stranger, no one was a stranger," Detective Erie said. "Didn't matter if he knew your name. Make friends with people. Do that in his memory."

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