WEST FARGO — The city of West Fargo has narrowed its search for the West Fargo Police Department's new police chief to two candidates, the city announced Friday, June 26.
The city plans to interview the two finalists, Jerry Boyer and Denis Otterness, on July 8. The process will consist of a formal interview, a tour of the West Fargo community, and time with the city police staff. At the end of the interview process, City Administrator Tina Fisk will make a final recommendation to the West Fargo City Commission.
The previous police chief Heith Janke returned to the FBI in May after taking a position in West Fargo in 2017. West Fargo was named "Safest City in North Dakota" two years in a row with Jahnke as police chief.
Boyer is the interim West Fargo police chief and has spent at least 15 of his more than 20 years in law enforcement in West Fargo. He started as an officer before being promoted to sergeant, administrative lieutenant, and assistant chief.
He graduated magna cum laude from Herzig University in Milwaukee, Wis., in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice with an emphasis in leadership and supervision. He was accepted to the FBI National Academy this year, but the session was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Otterness is the Chief of Police and Emergency Management Director at Montana State University-Billings and was previously Chief of Police at the Bloomington Police Department in Bloomington, Minn. He has 30 years of experience in law enforcement.
Otterness is a 2016 graduate of the University of St. Thomas, where he received a master's degree in public safety and law enforcement leadership. He was an adjunct instructor of criminal justice at Normandale Community College in Bloomington.
Shane McSheehy, who was previously announced as a finalist, accepted a different position and is no longer being considered by the city.