Kline’s death comes about 10 months after he was diagnosed with lung cancer on Oct. 4, his 74th birthday. He was surrounded by family at the time of his death, one day after he and his wife, Judy Kline, celebrated their 33rd anniversary, said the couple’s daughter, Cheri Faulk, of Chandler.
“He just didn’t want to die on his anniversary. He was very aware, all the way up to the end,” Faulk said.
Kline had been on regimens of chemotherapy and radiation, and “he was just worn out,” she said. “He was tired from being through all of that and being in the hospital. He couldn’t walk without getting out of breath and he was very weak. He fought as hard as he could, but I think he just had enough and it had come to the point where there was no quality of life.”
After consultation with his family, Kline asked that his supplemental oxygen be turned off, Faulk said.
Her father, she said, made it a point to speak with many of his relatives and friends, either in person while in the hospital or by telephone, to say goodbye, let them know how important they were in his life, and to offer them words of encouragement and advice.
“He was the kind of guy who never met a stranger and always made people feel comfortable,” Faulk said. “He always wanted to help.”
Kline, who was born and raised in Philadelphia, joined the U.S. Army at age 18 and requested to work in military police. “Being an MP was the only job he wanted in the military. He always wanted to be a cop,” Faulk said.
His last military assignment was at Albuquerque’s Sandia Base, which was later merged into Kirtland Air Force Base. After leaving the Army, Kline joined APD, where he served from 1966 until he retired with the rank of lieutenant in 1988.
Joe Polisar, who was Albuquerque’s police chief from 1994 through 1997, called Kline his “best friend.”
“Tim had Albuquerque police blood running through his veins. He loved this city, he loved the department,” he said.
In 1976, APD officer Greg MacAleese created the Crime Stoppers program under then Chief Bob Stover. “Tim became the face of Crime Stoppers after Greg left,” Polisar said.
The program went national toward the end of MacAleese’s tenure, “but Tim took it to another level, and it was one of the first real community policing programs that was out there at the national level.”
The program was built around a tip phone line in which people could remain anonymous and report crimes, suspicious activity or provide information to help police solve crimes. Tips that result in a conviction can earn the tipster cash rewards. Today, Crime Stoppers programs are active in 26 countries, according to the website for Crime Stoppers International.
“Tim and I became close friends because the Crime Stoppers program was in the armed robbery detail and I was an armed robbery detective,” Polisar recalled. “Tim was assigned there and he handled Crime Stoppers. The Crime Stoppers phone was a Snoopy phone (dog from the comic strip Peanuts). My desk was next to Tim’s and we’d all take turns answering the Snoopy phone. Back then, we’d get a tip, and grab our stuff and go out the door. We didn’t farm it out.”
Another friend, Rio Rancho City Manager David Campbell, was an assistant to former Albuquerque Mayor Harry Kinney when he first met Kline, and later worked with him when Kline became a city councilor and Campbell was the Albuquerque city attorney.
Kline served on the City Council from 1989 to 1993, and again from 1997 to 2001.
“What he did with Crime Stoppers, keeping it running and maintaining its presence on the national stage, was really a remarkable accomplishment,” Campbell said.
As a city councilor, Kline steadfastly supported public safety issues, as well as the quality of life tax legislation, which helped to fund the Explora museum, the Bio Park, aquarium and open space, Campbell said.
“He was absolutely committed to his family and to public service, and he had a really profound and positive impact on Albuquerque at a very important time in our community’s history.”
Kline was a past president of Crime Stoppers International, a former APD Officer of the Year, and a past president of the local Fraternal Order of Police Lodge in Albuquerque.
In addition to his wife, Judy, he is survived by his children, Lisa Klopf, of Anza, California; Jeannie Paynter, of Rio Rancho; Tina Bagon, of Tijeras; Cheri Faulk, of Chandler; and Timmy Kline, of Cortez, Colorado; 10 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; one brother and two sisters.
A celebration of Tim Kline’s life will be held at the FOP lodge, 4120 Cutler NE, on Sept. 8, at 1 p.m.