Officer Sonny Kim, a Star Even in College

Beloved karate teacher and veteran police officer impressed faculty as a CECH Criminal-Justice student.

Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim, killed June 19 while answering an emergency call, was a star student at the University of Cincinnati’s (UC) Criminal Justice Technology Program from 1986-1989, according to UC Professor Emeritus Roger Wright. “We were small then and you got to know the students pretty well. He was charming, well organized, one of our scholars and, interestingly, he knew how to talk to faculty. He was always very courteous and mature for his age.”

This loss has struck a chord across the country. “Like everyone else, I am stunned and saddened,” Wright said.  Officer Kim’s reputation as a 27-year veteran of the Cincinnati Police Department reached his former professor. “Word always gets back to me how my kids are doing. They are our legacy and if we’ve done our job well, they do theirs well. Sonny Kim had the three things that make a great police officer: common sense, compassion and courage.”

UC President Santa J. Ono honored Kim at the UC Scholars Academy celebration June 26 on the heels of attending the officer’s funeral. “He was a sensei, a teacher” Ono said, “who put the lives of others before himself.” Kim was a beloved karate teacher, who “took seriously, second to his responsibilities as father, the responsibility of sensei. Not long ago, Sonny Kim was here in the criminal-justice program, where his teacher saw something special in his eyes. These are the dreams we have for you,” Ono told Scholars Academy graduates. “Follow your passion and never forget your senseis.”

Commemorating the officer and former UC student, Ono has offered free under-graduate tuition to Kim’s three sons.