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During the Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, West Fargo City Commission meeting, the Commission unanimously approved the recommendation of City Administrator Dustin Scott to promote Pete Nielsen as the next West Fargo Police Department Chief.
“We appreciate the great leadership and public service Chief Denis Otterness has provided to the department and the community,” said City Administrator Dustin Scott. “With over 24 years of sworn law enforcement experience, Pete Nielsen is the best candidate to continue the department’s dedication to serve the City of West Fargo at the highest level.”
Nielsen has been serving as the Assistant Chief of Police for the West Fargo Police Department since Nov. 15, 2021. Nielsen is a native of West Fargo and served active duty as a law enforcement specialist with the United States Air Force for four years. After working as a police officer with North Dakota State University, Nielsen started as a patrol officer with the department in 1999. During his tenure with the department, he served as the first Support Services Officer to manage officer training, began the West Fargo Police Volunteer Program to engage community members to assist with daily operations and implemented a Neighborhood Watch Program.
“It has been my honor to serve with Pete Nielsen as my Assistant Chief over the past two years,” said outgoing Chief Denis Otterness. “The West Fargo Police Department is in great hands with a leadership team of the highest caliber.”
Nielsen established the West Fargo Police Department’s K-9 program in 2011 and grew the program from one K-9 to a team of three working K-9s and two comfort dogs. The K-9 Unit is a valuable department asset to assist with tracking missing individuals, apprehending fleeing criminals and locating illegal narcotics. The comfort dog program assists in fostering positive relationships with students, parents, faculty and staff.
“I am honored to be selected as the next Chief of Police for the West Fargo Police Department,” said Assistant Chief Pete Nielsen. “I am excited to continue my service to the community of West Fargo and lead an exceptional department.”
Nielsen holds a Bachelor of Arts from Grantham University in Lenexa, Kansas, and graduated from the Lake Region Police Academy.
Pete Nielsen will become Chief of Police effective on Friday, Oct. 6, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. and will be formally sworn in as the Chief of Police at an upcoming City Commission meeting.