WEST FARGO — It is a bit like coming home for the new West Fargo Police Chief who started his first week on the job.

Denis Otterness has been in law enforcement for two decades, but some of those early years were spent in the same city he will now help lead and protect.

"It is amazing, even this interchange they put in," Otterness commented

Out on the streets of West Fargo, Thursday, Sept. 10, I joined the new Police Chief on his beat, which is the whole city. It is a different town than what he remembers 25 years ago when he was a patrol officer.

"When you got to Interstate 94, there was nothing south of 94. Farms and fields, so we didn't respond to anything south of the interstate so when you got there, you just turned around and came back to town," Otterness said.

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A lot has changed for West Fargo's incredible growth from that quiet small town of yesterday, but Otterness, who has worked in big cities as a team member on Police Narcotics squads and DEA task forces, is ready for town like this.

"The city, (the) amount of growth, it is so vibrant and the diversity, just how it is growing like crazy," Otterness said.

Otterness went to NDSU and has many family connections with some of the men and women who were officers years ago when he was first here that continue to be part of the law enforcement community.

Otterness said he looks forward to the end of the pandemic, so he can get out to the many community and school events in West Fargo. It's a chance, he says, to get reacquainted with the town he is returning to.