Hoeven Honors North Dakota Peace Officers Kenner and Sleeper in Congressional Record

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today entered the following statement into the Congressional Record honoring the fallen North Dakota Peace Officers Steven Kenner and Bryan Sleeper:

“Mr. President, today, people across our country observe Peace Officers Memorial Day. As we remember all of the fallen officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice while upholding justice and protecting our communities, I wish to echo the sentiments of Americans across the country in honoring the lives and exemplary service of all of the men and women who lost their lives this past year, including two North Dakota peace officers, Bismarck Police Sgt. Steven Kenner and Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Sheriff Bryan Sleeper.

“Sgt. Steven Kenner served with the Bismarck Police Department for more than 32 years when he was killed in the line of duty on July 8, 2011. Sgt. Kenner was a distinguished and well respected member of the Bismarck Police Department. He also served as a decorated member of the North Dakota National Guard Military Police and founded the business C.A.R., Collision Analysis Reconstruction.

“Colleagues, friends and family knew Sgt. Kenner to be a loving, hardworking and dedicated man who served his state with great pride. He was devoted to mentoring and training his fellow officers, and his extensive knowledge and professionalism garnered the respect and admiration of his colleagues who often referred to Sgt. Kenner as a gentle giant because his stature belied his kind nature and selfless service to others.

“During Sgt. Kenner’s distinguished career, he earned several awards, including the North Dakota Peace Officers Association Lifesaving Award. Sgt. Kenner was also actively involved in his community, serving in a variety of capacities, including as a member of the Missouri Valley Fraternal Order of Police, the national trustee for North Dakota and the Midwest Association of Traffic Accident Investigators. He is survived by his wife, Debbie, and children James, Stephen, Kailey, and Tayler.

“Last year, North Dakota also mourned Deputy Sheriff Bryan Sleeper who died in the line of duty on September 28, 2011. A lifelong North Dakotan, Deputy Sleeper graduated from the University of Mary in 1997, and worked at the North Dakota State Penitentiary and the Bismarck Rural Fire Department before beginning his distinguished career with the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department in 2007.

“Deputy Sleeper was an active member of his community, and his involvement – like his job – aimed to improve the wellbeing of his fellow citizens. He earned his EMT certification and taught CPR and first aid at St. Alexius Medical Center and the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department. He was also was a volunteer firefighter, member of the West Dakota SWAT team and the vice-president of the Fraternal Order of Police Missouri Valley Lodge #3 for Bismarck. At the Sheriff’s Department, he organized enforcement events including a blood drive and Christmas shopping event for children. Recognitions include the North Dakota Peace Officers Association Lifesaving Award.

“Deputy Sleeper was a hardworking, ambitious and energetic man whose kind heart and engaging personality quickly endeared him to the people he met. An athlete and outdoors enthusiast, Deputy Sleeper was a natural leader and committed family man and friend. He is survived by his wife Lana; children Branden, Jeremy and Heather; and grandson Hunter.

“This past week, North Dakotans added the names of Steven Kenner and Bryan Sleeper to the North Dakota Peace Officer Memorial located on the east side of the North Dakota State Capitol. This memorial now bears the names of 61 brave men. These North Dakota peace officers, like the other officers from across our country who have been killed in the line of duty, have earned our unyielding gratitude for their service and heroism. These brave men and women keep our communities safe and secure, and it is fitting and right that we should pay tribute to these heroes who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“Mikey and I extend our deepest sympathy to the families of all our fallen officers, especially the families of Sgt. Kenner and Deputy Sleeper. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them, and we pray that they will take comfort in knowing that their loved ones served their state and fellow citizens with great honor and pride.”