Once again the corridors of the Littleton Police Department have been darkened by the unexpected loss of a beloved colleague. Though we have been here before with the losses of Chris Grosz, Bill Black and Kathi Christ, it makes it no easier to comprehend. Our hearts and minds are left wondering why it is that someone so good and so cherished can be taken from us so young. And it has left us with broken hearts once again.
The men and women of the Littleton Police Department were shocked into reality with learning of the tragic loss of Officer Kevin Denner. Kevin died doing something that he loved, riding his motorcycle. But that is not the only thing that Kevin loved. He loved his wife Kristin, and his children Kaidin and Kaitlin too, with all his heart. And he also loved the work of being a police officer and the people he had the opportunity to work with. But it was us who were the fortunate ones.
Officer Kevin Denner was our friend. He was the gentlest of souls with the strongest of convictions. He was big and strong, but soft at heart, never having an unkind word to say about anyone. It simply was not in his DNA to be mean-spirited. He lived a life committed to his family. He spoke of them often and dedicated his life to being the best father and husband he could be.
Kevin spent the past year on patrol working the graveyard shift. Ironically, Kevin’s work put him in a position to keep the citizens of Littleton safe from drunk drivers. Prior to that, after having spent just a year as a patrol officer, his talent was realized and he made detective. He spent over eight years as a detective, where he became an expert investigator in computer-related crimes. But it was while working graveyards where Kevin showed his co-workers the kind of man and father he was. Always putting his family first, Kevin would often come home at daybreak after working through the night, and because Kristen, who was a schoolteacher, had early school, he would stay up to get his kids breakfast and off to school before lying down to get some rest. And then he would get up early to pick them up. And he gladly did it to show his love for his family. That is who Kevin Denner was. A good, loyal family man who just happened to be an outstanding police officer.
Kevin Denner was a very kind and decent man. Kevin always seemed upbeat and pleasant and had the innate ability to convince most everyone he met that he was their friend. He was very large as cops go, standing about 6-foot-7. He was intimidating in stature, but far from threatening. He was affectionately known by all of us as “Big ’n.” Kevin was the kind of police officer who provided a great deal of comfort to any officer he was covering on a call. With Big ’n there, one didn’t have to worry too much about things getting out of hand. One glance at this mountain of a police officer left suspects with very little incentive to be uncooperative.
As one glances at the heartbroken faces of our fellow Littleton Police employees, it is not difficult to understand their grief. Because they too came to know a kind and decent man who always had time for a friendly word or to share a funny anecdote. It is people like Kevin Denner who set the bar of civility high and left the rest of us struggling to measure up. So, as often is the case when one loses someone they love so unexpectedly, we are left to ponder; if only we had told him how much he meant to us; if only we had showed him what an impact he had on us as human beings; if only we shared with him what an influence he had on our lives. If only …
We hope for Kevin’s sake we did.
So we say farewell, not just to Littleton Police Officer Kevin Denner, but to Kevin our friend, our inspiration, our cherished and beloved colleague and to the person who simply by having known him, had the ability to inspire us all to do, and be, better. We will not let him down.
Kevin Denner, the man, represented the best in all of us and we will miss him terribly.
The employees of the Littleton Police Officers Association
Fraternal Order of Police #26, of which Officer Denner was a member