Fridley police officer Barry Pankonin died Tuesday afternoon in an off-duty motorcycle accident.
Pankonin, a 12-year veteran of the Police Department, was riding the motorcycle near his home in Plymouth when the accident occurred, according to a statement from the department. No other vehicles or pedestrians were involved. He was wearing a helmet, said Lt. Mike Monsrud, adding that he does not believe alcohol or drugs were involved.
Pankonin had served as a patrol officer and investigator during his time with the department. He also helped to provide police service during the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Most recently, he was back to patrolling in Fridley.
"He was very well respected, both by fellow officers and citizens of the community," Monsrud said. "We had people coming by, dropping by cards, gifts, etc., because word's gotten out there. That's the kind of impact he had on the community."
Pankonin, 38, was from Sanborn, in southwestern Minnesota. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army National Guard.
His death was the second this year among Fridley first-responders. In March, on-call firefighter Scott Allard lost his life, also in a motorcycle accident.
Pankonin is survived by his partner, Scott Stevenson; his father and mother; one brother, and two sisters.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
MARIA ELENA BACA