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Rasmussen honored for time served as West Fargo police chief

Arland H. Rasmussen unveils the Rasmussen Room placard during the ceremony held to honor his 19 years as former West Fargo police chief. Emily Driscoll / West Fargo Pioneer1 / 2
The chief conference room at West Fargo City Hall was named Rasmussen Room to honor Arland H. Rasmussen, the former police chief. Emily Driscoll / West Fargo Pioneer2 / 2

West Fargo Police Chief Heith Janke wanted to come up with a way to honor former chief Arland H. Rasmussen for his extensive tenure and 46 years of devotion to public service.

He figured dedicating the chief conference room at West Fargo City Hall to Rasmussen would be the most appropriate way, which became official at a ceremony held on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

"After taking over as chief here and sitting down with every employee, it became pretty apparent the leadership and the appreciation that the staff had for Arland as the chief," Janke said.

Quite the crowd was present to see Rasmussen unveil the room at city hall, including his family and friends, Rich Mattern, Vern Baardson, Bernie Dardis, Heith Janke along with other members of the police department.

"We wanted to ensure that we left a lasting legacy in the department to honor his 19-and-a-half years as a chief," Janke said. "He was definitely a caring man that showed compassion and treated everyone as family."

Rasmussen served as West Fargo Police Chief for nearly 20 years before retiring in the summer of 2014.

Janke was an FBI agent for 15 years before becoming chief in 2017. He was hired on several months after Mike Reitan was fired.

At the ceremony, community members spoke of Rasmussen's impact on the community and law enforcement. Rasmussen recalled his family's anxiety about his career choice and the incredible honor it was to serve.

"So, thanks folks, officers and staff," Rasmussen said. "It's not me that made it, it's you that continue to make this department what it is every day."

He unveiled the Arland H. Rasmussen Conference Room by pulling a paper bag off the official placard.

"A lot of people wish they were here, they wish they were in your shoes. It's a great honor and it's very nice of you to think of me and do this," Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen was elected to represent the city in Cass County's District 4 seat on the County Commission shortly after his retirement. His term ended last December.

He grew up on a farm southeast of Jamestown, N.D., and attended North Dakota State University. He and his wife, Verna, have been married for over 40 years and three grown children as well as three grandchildren.