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Hero Down: Cedar Rapids Police Officer David Zahn Succumbs To Post-Surgical Complications

Cedar Rapids, IA – Cedar Rapids Police Department (CRPD) Officer David “Dave” Zahn died on Dec. 15, 2022, due to surgery complications, according to his family.

The 59-year-old officer passed away at his home due to complications related to a recent surgical procedure, his obituary read.

No additional details were immediately released.

Officer Zahn served the CRPD for 32 years.

He also served six years as the Cedar Rapids Public Safety Commissioner from 1999 until 2005 before he returned to the CRPD to serve in multiple other roles, The Gazette reported.

“Dave had a long career of helping people,” his obituary read. “As a police officer, he cared for many lost animals, including rescuing a kitten and a family of ducks from the interstate. He could be seen changing tires for stranded motorists, helping the homeless, and using radar to clock his neighbor’s pitching speed.”

Former Cedar Rapids Mayor Lee Clancey said he and Officer Zahn worked closely with one another when Officer Zahn was serving as public safety commissioner.

“He had a very good understanding of what law enforcement was about, and he brought all of that knowledge to the city council,” Clancey told The Gazette.

“I think the most important contribution that he made was with regard to we were doing a lot of economic development projects,” the former mayor noted. “…his expertise in law enforcement and safety in particular was instrumental in those projects in terms of making sure that whatever we did was done in a way that was not going to hinder public safety and would instead help.”

Cedar Rapids City Councilmember Dale Todd said Officer Zahn enjoyed serving in his hometown, The Gazette reported.

“Dave was an officer that really knew the neighborhoods. He grew up here. These were his streets. He knew them,” Todd said.

Officer Zahn worked in multiple roles during his three decades of service, including in crime scene investigation, patrol, and traffic enforcement, CRPD Chief Wayne Jerman told The Gazette.

“He did a lot of little things that will go unnoticed by a lot of members of the public, but did not go unnoticed by members of the department,” Chief Jerman said. “Dave would not make a big deal out of changing someone’s tire or giving someone a ride to help someone out.”

Officer Zahn leaves behind his wife, Suzanne, and their son, Brogan, who was the “greatest joy in his life,” according to his obituary.

He is also survived by his siblings, Tom and Annette.

“We consider all of our members of the department as part of our family, and Dave was a member of our family,” Chief Jerman told The Gazette. “Dave is going to be missed very much by the department.”

Officer Zahn was laid to rest on Dec. 21, 2022.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Cedar Rapids Police Department Officer David “Dave” Zahn, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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