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West Fargo police sergeant demoted, suspended after DUI case

Ryan Denis of the West Fargo Police Department is shown here on Jan. 19, 2018. Denis was demoted from sergeant to patrol officer as a result of an internal investigation, police said. Forum file photo1 / 2
Ryan Denis2 / 2

WEST FARGO — A West Fargo police sergeant arrested off-duty for drunken driving will be demoted and must serve a 15-day, unpaid suspension.

Sgt. Ryan Denis was arrested Feb. 24 on suspicion of driving under the influence after his truck was reported stuck in a snowbank near 19th Avenue South and Ninth Street East. West Fargo police opened an internal investigation into the matter, while the North Dakota Highway Patrol conducted a criminal investigation.

Denis pleaded guilty to actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence on March 20 in Cass County District Court. He was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation and must pay $750. A charge of refusing to take a chemical test was dismissed.

As a result of the internal investigation, Denis was demoted from his supervisory position to a patrol officer and will serve a 15-day, unpaid suspension effective Friday, March 29, city officials said.

“Law enforcement is held to a high standard due to the position of trust we hold and the enormous responsibilities we are given in the community," West Fargo Police Chief Heith Janke said in a statement.

"Though it is true that we are human and can make mistakes, driving while under the influence of alcohol is something that will never be condoned within our department. This is why Officer Denis’ disciplinary actions include both a demotion and unpaid suspension. Our department will continue to remain both accountable and transparent to the residents of West Fargo that we proudly serve every day."

Janke declined to comment further on the matter.

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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