Friend of injured Wichita officer: ‘He’s a fighter’

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita police released the name of the injured officer on Wednesday. He has been identified as Brian Arterburn, a decorated officer with 25 years of experience.

Arterburn’s coworkers said while he has quite the sense of humor, his number one priority is to keep the community safe.

KSN spoke to one of Arterburn’s former co-workers who described him as a fun-loving, yet serious man.

Officer Brian Arterburn (Courtesy: Wichita Police Department)
Officer Brian Arterburn (Courtesy: Wichita Police Department)

“He was like one of those people that you consider you would want to have as your next door neighbor, somebody you could go fishing with,” said former Wichita Police Detective Rusty Smith. “Every time I saw him he would always smile when he saw me. He was one of those people you liked being around.”

Smith said while he wasn’t extremely close to Arterburn, he often worked with him on drug-related cases.

“He was a very hard-working police officer and he was respected by the people he worked with,” Smith said.

Arterburn’s many accomplishments speak to that. Smith said Arterburn survived a liver transplant and returned to duty about a year ago.

Wichita police said Arterburn was awarded the department’s second highest award, the Silver Wreath of Valor in 2005. They said he was also named the officer of the year in 2001 for his multiple drug and prostitution arrests.

“It doesn’t happen very often and we all thought Brian deserved it when he got it,” Smith said.

Police said Arterburn was investigating a stolen SUV on Tuesday afternoon when 31-year-old Justin Terrazas ran him over. Arterburn suffered injuries to his brain, chest and abdomen. Smith said he was in shock when he got the news about the attack.

“That sinking feeling you have in your stomach and you just don’t know what is going to happen,” he said.

However, Smith said no matter what happens, he is confident Arterburn will pull through.

“He is a fighter,” he said.

Police said Arterburn was also dedicated to giving back to the community. They said he recently used his own money to buy winter clothes for local elementary kids. He also helped raise funds for Kansas Special Olympics.