BISMARCK - Hundreds of people lined the streets of Bismarck and Mandan today for the funeral procession of Bismarck Police Sgt. Steve Kenner, who was killed late Friday while responding to a domestic disturbance call.
The procession made its way through Bismarck-Mandan to Veterans Cemetery after a two-hour funeral at the Bismarck Civic Center attended by an estimated 1,700 people.
Roger Buechler of Bismarck and his son, Judah, 10, were among those waiting outside the Civic Center. They held a sign stating, "Hero."
"When somebody gives their life for others, we should give them the ultmate respect we can," Buechler said of why he was standing there.
Kenner, 56, is the first Bismarck police officer killed in the line of duty and the first in North Dakota in 15 years.
Kenner touched people's lives far beyond the Bismarck-Mandan area, said Grant Benjamin, a Fargo police officer who is also president of the North Dakota Fraternal Order of Police.
He estimated at least 1,000 police officers from North Dakota and across the country are at the funeral. Officers came from at least a dozen states, including California, Delaware and Oklahoma, he said.
"It's the ultimate respect to pay for one of our brothers in blue," Benjamin said Thursday.
Bismarck Fire Chief Joel Boespflug said Kenner was a professional and a close friend of emergency services in the area.
Teresa Madche, who worked for Bismarck-Burleigh County 911 for 23 years, said she had to come to the funeral to show respect.
"And to be with people who understand the loss that we're going through," she said.
Dave Ell of Bismarck is a retired police officer who worked with Kenner for many years.
"He was kind. He was gentle. He was big. He was fair. All-around good guy," he said.
Check back later for more on this story.