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West Fargo Police hire four new officers

Residents may have seen some new faces protecting and serving the people of West Fargo lately.

Over the past few months, the West Fargo Police Department has hired four new officers: Wes Christianson, Kyle Johnson, Ryan Birney and Jacob Danduran.

According to Assistant Police Chief Mike Reitan, two of these officers were hired to replace officers leaving the department.

“The other two were hired as part of our department growing along with the city,” Reitan said. “As the city grows, we have to grow along with it.”

The department is also hiring a new officer to start in May — who will replace a veteran going into either Liberty Middle School or Sheyenne High School as its school resource officer — and has done some long-range forecasting to gauge their need for a larger staff in the future, but Reitan is confident in his staff, as well as his recent hires, for the time being.

“The four we have hired here come in with differing levels of experience,” Reitan said, “but we feel we have made some excellent hires here.”

Wes ChristiansonWes Christianson

Christianson in a native of Dickinson, but graduated from NDSU. After working a few different sales and marketing jobs, he found a different calling in law enforcement, and has spent the past two years serving Burleigh County, N.D.

“The whole thing that drew me to law enforcement is that it is always different,” Christianson said. “It never gets monotonous, and it’s interesting.”

Christianson referred to the department as a “good, family department,” and says he has built several good relationships with local officers, but one of his primary reasons for joining the department will be a moot point by summertime.

“One of the reasons I chose West Fargo was because of Arland (Rasmussen, West Fargo’s current chief of police),” Christianson said. “Of course, he is retiring in June, so we will see what comes from that.”

Kyle JohnsonKyle Johnson

Johnson is a native of the area, growing up in North Fargo and graduating from Oak Grove High School in 2006. He then graduated from NDSU in May with degrees in Exercise Science and Criminal Justice. This past summer, he completed his skills training at Alexandria Technical College.

“When I was in school, I did an internship here from January to April,” Johnson said. “I got to know the department well, and became very comfortable with it. There is no reason why I wouldn’t want to work here.”

Johnson cited the quality officers and the “tight, community feel” of the West Fargo Police as other reasons for joining.

“I am really happy to be on board,” Johnson said, “It was perfect timing for me. I feel very fortunate.”

Ryan BirneyRyan Birney

Birney is a native of Tecumseh, Okla., and graduated with a degree in history from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (Chickasha, Okla.) before enlisting in the United States Army as an infantryman. His single deployment to Afghanistan included “lots of police work,” which led him to pursue a career in law enforcement.

Birney’s reason for leaving Oklahoma for the frozen tundra of the Red River Valley is a bit more personal than a career with the West Fargo Police.

“I met a girl in Colorado who was from Fargo,” Birney said. “We got married and ended up moving here.”

Following his time on active duty, Birney went right into his skills training, and started with the WFPD earlier this month.

“I think I made a good decision,” Birney said. “The West Fargo Police Department is probably one of the best in the area. I have heard from several officers in the area that they are good at what they do. I am really happy to be here, and I am enjoying it so far.”

Jacob DanuranJacob Danduran

Danduran is a native of New Rockford, N.D. He graduated from the University of North Dakota with a degree in criminal justice, then completed his skills training in 2011. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the Army and served a deployment at Guantanamo Bay where he had plenty of military police experience.

According to Danduran, a career as an officer is something he has wanted to pursue for a long time.

“I have been interested in law enforcement since I was really young,” Danduran said. “It is really a cool, noble job to have.”

The department is just the right size for Danduran: comfortable, but continuously interesting.

“It has that small-town feel,” Danduran said. “That is one of the bigger reasons for me to come here. Everyone knows each other, but calls are still unique.”

The West Fargo Police Department is stationed at 800 4 Ave. East, and can be reached at 701.433.5500.