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Insight from the West Fargo PD: Chief's report for 2013

I am proud to present the 2013 West Fargo Police Department’s Annual Report. Once again, 2013 was a busy and productive year for our police department as West Fargo lives up to its city slogan, “City on the Grow.” One way we can tell it’s been a busy year is by statistics and this year-end report is packed full of statistics. What I consider basically the bottom line is our calls for services. Once again they are up from the previous year with 2013 showing an increase of 1,039 calls more than in 2012 for a total of 20,743. (This is a record number for us).

Thanks to the fantastic support we receive from our citizens and our city commission the police department continues to grow. At the close of 2013 we have 40 sworn officers, 10 civilian staff and nine volunteers providing law enforcement services to the residents of West Fargo.

This year two of our volunteers were recognized by The West Fargo Exchange Club with the prestigious “Book of Golden Deeds Award”. Vern and Casey Baardson have been our volunteer chaplains for several years and do an excellent job working with and assisting our WFPD staff.

Lt. Duane Sall was nominated by the staff he supervises as “West Fargo Police Department Employee of the Year”. This award was given again through the West Fargo Exchange Club and speaks volumes for Duane’s ability and leadership. Pam Cota, with 30 plus years of service, was the first civilian employee to receive the “Chiefs Medal Award” for the excellent job she has done, not only most recently as our Crime Free Housing Coordinator, but throughout her entire career.

Last year was an exceptionally memorable year because we had the opportunity to plan a NEW BUILDING to house the West Fargo Police Department. This is exciting for not only the department members but our entire city We are pleased to be part of planning for West Fargo’s future needs, when it is estimated that West Fargo may reach 46,000 residents and need 80 sworn police officers.

In 2013 we hired back one officer that had left us earlier and decided to return and make West Fargo her permanent home. Dora Roll had previously worked for us as a Police Clerk and then a sworn officer, but left to return home to Alaska. Realizing she missed dearly our West Fargo community and her WFPD family, it was lucky for us she returned to serve and protect our community. However, 2013 did see us lose a much respected officer/volunteer, Brad Berg. Brad came to WFPD in 2000 and volunteered his expertise for 13 plus years, as an officer. His last assignment was with the DEA Task Force and his last case took him across the US several times and into Mexico as he worked narcotics cases involving the Mexican Cartel.

Each year new and sometimes rather unique challenges occur, which makes being chief interesting. This year one of those challenges involved having to develop a “snake ordinance”.

For 2013 our schools asked for an additional School Resource Officer position bringing our total number of SRO’s to three. In 2014 they have once again requested an additional officer as that program increases in popularity and our schools continue to help West Fargo be the “City on the Grow.”

Our police department continues to enjoy promoting West Fargo by hosting Night to Unite in August, (stormed out this year) and by assisting with the annual West Fest Days in September. These annual events provide an opportunity to showcase the PD, our equipment and the employees that serve this great community.

For the past nineteen years it has been my honor and pleasure to serve as Chief of Police for West Fargo. I say honor and pleasure because in all honesty, it certainly has been both an honor and pleasure. It has been an honor and pleasure because of the leadership by our commissioners, our city administrator, my fellow department heads and my staff. Historically not all cities find cohesiveness with leaders truly working towards the same goals. I have found in our community leaders not only work for common goals, but credit each other for the successfulness and accomplishments of those goals.

With that said I, with mixed feelings, inform you this will be the final year-end report filed by me, as I plan to retire in June. I wish to thank all the citizens, commissions, fellow department heads and my staff for allowing me to have had the privilege and honor of being Chief of Police for the City on the Grow, West Fargo.

Arland Rasmussen is the police chief for the West Fargo Police Chief