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West Fargo selects three police chief finalists

The West Fargo Police Department. Carrie Snyder / The Forum

WEST FARGO—City officials here have narrowed down the list of 12 candidates for the West Fargo police chief to three finalists and none of the names are from inside the current force.

The three finalists, Fargo Deputy Chief Joe Anderson, North Dakota Highway Patrol Lt. Troy Hischer and FBI Supervisory Special Agent Heith Janke will move on to another round of interviews, which will be scheduled in the next few weeks, said City Spokeswoman Melissa Richard.

Of the 12 applicants for the police chief job, four were from within the West Fargo force.

The candidate list included West Fargo Lt. Duane Sall, West Fargo Sgt. Derek Cruff; West Fargo Assistant Chief and Current Interim Chief Gerald Boyer; West Fargo Sgt. Terry Styf; Moorhead Deputy Chief Shannon Monroe; Mahnomen County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Paul Osowski; North Dakota Department of Transportation Program Manager Lori Malafa; Bismarck Sgt. Lyle Sinclair and Cass County Sheriff's Office Capt. Jesse Jahner, who withdrew before interviews began.

The 11 remaining candidates were interviewed by a panel comprised of City Administrator Tina Fisk, West Fargo Human Resources Administrator Jenna Wilm, Fire Chief Dan Fuller, Commissioner Mark Wentz and Fargo Training and Development Coordinator Mike Mitchell on May 4 and May 5.

Richard said the panel used a scoring system to rank the interviewees and gave a weighted system to their answers.

Richard said the second round of evaluations in the next few weeks will be conducted by another panel that will include police staff.

A timeline to hire the new chief has not yet been set.

"The city continues to take its time in creating an evaluation process that will identify the best candidate for the position," Richard said.

The city has been looking for a new police chief since the City Commission voted to fire Chief Mike Reitan, 59, on Feb. 6 after he was placed on paid administrative leave Jan. 13 and offered a three-month severance package, which he refused.

City staff made a recommendation that Reitan be fired due to his treatment of employees and acts of insubordination. Police staff filed complaints against Reitan that said he created a toxic, hostile work environment.

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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