Each year, National Police Week recognizes the service and sacrifice of federal, state and local law enforcement. This year, the week will be observed Sunday, May 10 through Saturday, May 16 Peace Officers Memorial Day, which every year falls on May 15, specifically honors law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty.
Nationally, more than 307 officers were killed in the line of duty last year.
In North Dakota, the annual public memorial service has been cancelled amid concerns with safety levied by the COVID-19 pandemic, and so the state’s fallen heroes will be remembered in a closed service at the Law Enforcement Memorial. As traditional, the service will end with the playing Taps.
“Although sixty-four officers have lost their lives in North Dakota since 1882, we are fortunate that last year, no officers were killed in the line of duty. Let us hope that next year we can say the same,” said Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.
Police Chief Dustin Dassinger, of the Dickinson Police Department, shared a message about the importance the week holds to those in law enforcement and spoke of the heavy responsibilities placed on law enforcement personnel.
“This week, across the nation, we have honored police officers who have died in the line of duty. During this time period, members of the law enforcement profession unite with community members to pay tribute to those we have lost,” Dustin Dassinger, Chief of Police with Dickinson Police Department, said. “In 2011, I attended the funeral for Bismarck Sergeant Steve Kenner and in 2016 I attended the funeral for Fargo Officer Jason Mozer. These two memorial services were gut wrenching and there wasn’t a dry eye in attendance. National Police week provides us an opportunity to remember, and for me reflect upon the responsibility I have as Police Chief to ensure the safety of the men and women who serve our community.”
Stark County Sheriff Corey Lee highlighted the continued efforts of law enforcement to come together in a single purpose of preserving peace.
"The men and women of the Stark County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank all of our brothers and sisters in our law enforcement family for their sacrifices on this Peace Officers Memorial Day," Lee said. "Now more than ever, law enforcement agencies across our nation have been working together to accomplish our unified goal of peace and safety for those we have sworn to protect. Even though this is a challenging time in the history of our country, our ability to come together in the public safety community, for one common goal, has been a shining light during this era."
Dunn County Sheriff Gary Kuhn, also shared how the sacrifices made by law enforcement to protect and serve the community comes with a heavy burden.
“I appreciate [The Press] reaching out to Law Enforcement Agencies in ND and I thank you for taking the time to recognize all of the officers who have fallen in the line of duty,” Kuhn said. “It is truly an honor to talk about these brave men and women and their memories will live with us forever. They are a constant reminder of what being an officer of the law entails and their selfless sacrifice brings courage to all of us who wear a badge.”
Kuhn added, “To the 307 brothers and sisters who laid down their lives in the line of duty last year, we pray for you and your families. To the 64 brothers and sisters who were killed in the line of duty in North Dakota from 1882 to present, we pray for you and your families. For all of our brothers and sisters who have been killed in the line of duty, we pray for you and your families. I commend you for your service and pray that all of you come home safely at the end of your shift.”
Sheriff Kuhn shared a verse from the Bible as he reflected on the men and women who have sworn to protect and serve at all cost.
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God,” Matthew 5:9.
Today, The Dickinson Press honors those brave men and women who have paid the ultimate price and rendered the ultimate sacrifice to uphold their oaths to protect and serve the citizens of southwest North Dakota. To the sheepdogs who have kept the wolves at bay since 1882, we salute you.
Area law enforcement who have died in the line of duty:
Fred A. Patrikus, Billings County, Sheriff’s Office, 1940
Max L. Taylor, Bowman County, Sheriff’s Office, 1960
Theodore C. Wanner, Dickinson, N.D., Police Department, 1966
Keith A. Braddock, Watford City, N.D., Police Department, 1996
North Dakota law enforcement who have died in the line of duty:
Fred D Alderman, Fargo PD, 1882
Evan Paulson, Mayville PD, 1890
James Rauland, Northern Pacific RR, 1899
H.M. Personius, Valley City PD, 1906
George E. Moody, Richland SO, 1911
Carl G. Nelson, Carrington PD, 1915
Seymour H. Douglas, McKenzie SO, 1917
Evan M. Jones, Richland SO, 1917
George Dixon, Wilton PD, 1917
Patrick J. Devaney, Minot PD, 1918
Gowin, Kersey E., Attorney General, 1918
Earnest W. Thompson, Ward SO, 1920
Lee S. Fahler, Minot PD, 1921
Julius A. Nielsen, Kenmare PD, 1921
Christian A. Madison, Stanley PD, 1922
Carl Petersen, Westhope PD, 1922
Charles R. Sneesby, Devils Lake PD, 1924
E.M. (Ned) Morris, New Rockford PD, 1926
Nels H. Romer, Mandan PD, 1929
Hans C. Jess, Mandan PD, 1929
Martin G. Johnson, Ray PD, 1930
George Piepkorn, Burleigh SO, 1930
Leo Dagner, Willow City PD, 1933
David L. Stewart, Hope PD, 1933
Aslak “Oscar” Thorsen, Bottineau SO, 1936
Joseph Runions, Mercer SO, 1941
Arthur M. Sem, Stanley PD, 1942
Charles M. Allmaras, Eddy SO, 1942
Jacob M. Hoerner, New Leipzig PD, 1942
John Oles, Penitentiary, 1946
William W. Hansen, Velva PD, 1950
Rudolph F. Howell, Ramsey SO, 1950
Henry S. Halvorson, Grand Forks SO, 1952
Edward E. Mumby, New Salem PD, 1953
Nicholas J. Ethen, Devils Lake PD, 1953
Beryl E. McLane, Highway Patrol, 1954
John Holcomb, Penitentiary, 1954
Ralph L. Burdick, Benson SO, 1954
Lee E. Morrow, FBI, 1960
Nathan N. Bear, BIA, 1960
Ralph J. Hansen, Ransom SO, 1962
Frank A. Peterson, Rugby PD, 1963
Burkett M. Miller, Ray PD, 1966
Robert D. Martin, Grand Forks PD, 1966
Raymond A. Wietstock, Industrial School, 1966
Ronald E. Trautman, Jamestown PD, 1966
Frank C. Schultz, Burlington Northern RR, 1970
P.A. “Tex” Goyne, New Salem PD, 1971
Herbert R. Parmeter, Sargent SO, 1974
Kenneth A. Lenerville, Reeder PD, 1975
Kenneth B. Muir, US Marshall, 1983
Robert S. Cheshire, Jr., US Marshall, 1983
Timothy L. Wells, Williams SO, 1989
Valance L. Pascal, Benson SO, 1993
Charles V. Pulver, NDG&F, 1995
Roger C. Sorenson, Youth Correctional Ctr, 1996
Steven R. Kenner, Bismarck PD, 2011
Bryan K. Sleeper, Burleigh County SO, 2011
Jason D. Moszer, Fargo PD, 2016
Colt E. Allery, Rolette County SO, 2017