West Fargo Police Chief announces retirement

(WEST FARGO) -- West Fargo will have a new leader at the head of its police force.

Police Chief Denis Otterness has announced his retirement, effective Friday, October 6. He was appointed the Chief of Police in September 2020.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to lead the West Fargo Police Department over the past three years,” said West Fargo Police Chief Denis Otterness. “It has been a highlight of my career serving alongside such a dedicated police department who remains committed to protecting and serving the community of West Fargo. It is truly bittersweet to begin and end my career serving the City of West Fargo.”

Many programs have been strengthened under Otterness' tenure. He has implemented new initiatives that have led the department in a positive direction. These include the addition of an enhanced cardiac screening program, body worn camera program, comfort dog program with West Fargo Public Schools, an ongoing Peace Officer Training program with Lake Region State College, and West Fargo’s first public transparency dashboard.

Chief Otterness was also influential in the passing of House Bill 1279 to expand workers’ compensation coverage for full-time law enforcement and firefighters across North Dakota, the only state in the country to provide this level of coverage.

More details regarding the hiring of the next police chief will be made available at a later date.