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Signing off: K-9 Officer Disco retires

West Fargo police Sgt. Pete Nielson walks his K-9, Disco, through the hall of the department during the dog's retirement ceremony held last Wednesday. David Samson / The Forum

One of the most decorated K-9 officers in the state made his last walk through the halls of the West Fargo Police Department on Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Disco, the department's first-ever K9 officer, retired Nov. 1 after seven years of service, more than 1,000 deployments and two of North Dakota's largest drug seizures.

Disco's partner, Sgt. Pete Nielsen, walked with him through City Hall late Wednesday, saying goodbye to his fellow officers, city staff members and community members.

"During Disco's career with Sgt. Nielsen, they have stopped millions of dollars worth of drugs from entering the city of West Fargo and surrounding Fargo-Moorhead metro area," said Mayor Bernie Dardis before declaring Oct. 31 as the city's official Disco Day.

"Disco is one of our longest serving officers and he'll be sorely missed," said Jerry Boyer, West Fargo Police Department assistant chief.

In November 2017, during a routine traffic stop near Interstate 94 and the 45th Street exit, Disco helped find 286 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $1.3 million, one of the largest drug busts in North Dakota. Earlier in the year, he also helped find 125 pounds of raw marijuana, 2,811 grams of marijuana wax, 168.63 grams of hashish and two vials of marijuana oil within a trunk of a vehicle stopped along interstate.

The estimated street value of the drugs was more than $700,000

Boyer said Disco is also a member of the North Dakota Veterinary Association Hall of Fame. Boyer said the West Fargo Animal Hospital has agreed to pay Disco's veterinary care throughout his retirement.

Disco is a German shepherd who was born in Slovakia and raised in West Fargo. In 2016, Disco underwent extensive spinal surgery to relieve compressed nerves that were causing him pain in his leg.

At the time, Nielsen said that Disco's six-week recovery time will be the longest the two have gone without working together in four years.

As Disco tugged at his leash, eager to play with his ball on Wednesday, Nielsen thanked the city and police staff for their support over his career before helping load Disco into their 2018 squad car and signing out of duty for the last time.

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and at CBS in Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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