As usual, longtime West Fargo Police Lt. Greg Warren wasn't staying in one spot as he started his shift at the police station Wednesday morning, Feb. 12.

Chief Heith Janke had to seek him out and bring him into the training room for what was going to be a mundane meeting. Instead, Warren was greeted by his family, friends, fellow police officers, city staff and city commissioners who were there to see him be named a "Hometown Hero."

"Every day after all these years, coming in with a smile, with his expression, 'Let's rock and roll and get out there,'" Janke said. "Even though he won't like this recognition because he likes to have his troops recognized, we want to say, 'Congratulations.' Well deserved."

And Janke was right. Despite the surprise honor recognizing Warren, he was quick to thank his family and say how proud he is of his wife Brenda, daughter Missy and son Tim, who were at City Hall Wednesday for the surprise.

"If you get an award, then we all get an award," Warren said of the department. "We don't do anything alone. You persevere and you keep going, but you don't do anything beyond teamwork."

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Scheels Assistant Store Leader John Burt was on hand to honor Warren for his longtime work as an officer and lead investigator with the department.

"Thank you for your service and all you do for our community," he said.

Warren, a 45-year veteran of the force, is a highly decorated officer who won the 1997 North Dakota Peace Officer of the Year Award, the state’s highest honor for law enforcement, for his work as lead investigator in the 1995 murder of Cherryl Tendeland. He was also the main leader and organizer of the Red River Child Abduction Response Team, a regional team organized to bring resources together quickly to search for a missing child, including local law enforcement agencies and nonprofit groups.

In 2012, he was awarded the Law Enforcement Gold Medal Award from the city and the department's Employee of the Year award.

Letters of appreciation and commendation from community members, Cass County sheriff's deputies, U.S. marshals and school district officials fill Warren's personnel file.