PETERS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — The people who know and have worked with a Clairton police officer critically injured when responding to a home invasion say he loved being a cop.

“He brought a lot of proactive policing as well as a lot of experience from his other job,” Clairton Police Chief Robert Hoffman said.

Officer Jim Kuzak had only been in his department for two weeks.

Those who knew him say he was aware of the dangers of the job, but loved it. Before working in Clairton, Kuzak was a patrolman in Peters Township for 13 years. He retired to start a consulting and training business.

“He was a taser instructor for us. He also trained in martial arts,” Peters Township Police Chief Harry Frick said. “He was heavily into that and firearms, anything to accent what he did on the job.”

Frick told Brenda Waters Kuzak slept, lived and breathed being a cop, saying it was his life. Township Manager Michael Silvestri agrees.

“He was a very driven officer. He was always looking to get more educated,” he said. “He went back and got a degree, always volunteering to get involved in more aspects of police work.”

One of those aspects was honoring the memory of fallen law enforcement officers.

Kuzak was a member of “Cops On Top,” a team of volunteers from law enforcement who undertake mountain climbing expeditions in honor of those who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Kuzak climbed Mt. Davis, the highest point in Pennsylvania, two years ago.

“Our thoughts and our prayers go out to Jim and his family right now,” Chief Hoffman said.

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