(West Fargo, ND) -- It's being called an opportunity to strengthen the community.

West Fargo Police are doing so by formalizing the Community Outreach Programs and Services Unit.

“The goal of the unit is to enhance and build trust between the West Fargo Police Department and every resident in the community,” said Chief Denis Otterness. “We are continuing to grow our department and find ways to interact with our residents, which is especially important given the increasing diversity of our community.”

The Community Outreach Programs and Services Unit will consist of a Sergeant, seven School Resource Officers, a Cultural Liaison Officer and a new position within the department, a Community Engagement Officer. These officers will work together to be a presence and resource in the community. The Community Engagement Officer will focus on planning programs to interact with youth and provide resources to reduce the risks in our community, like substance abuse, bullying and mental health issues.

The new Community Engagement Officer position is expected to be filled internally by mid-February. This position was possible through a grant acquired through the Juvenile Justice State Advisory Group to accomplish the department’s goal of positively affecting youth in our community.

For more information on the Community Outreach Programs and Services Unit, click here.