West Fargo Police Hopes “Night to Unite” Inspires Next Generation
Officers hope the event captivates a lifelong respect for law enforcement
WEST FARGO, N.D. — Long before he became the mayor of West Fargo, Bernie Dardis was a police officer in Western North Dakota.
At one point, he was serving as a chief of police and deputy sheriff in Dunn County.
“Well it’s a rewarding experience. It’s like being a mayor. You know your experience of helping people and working with people is very rewarding,” said Dardis.
After he moved to West Fargo, Dardis began volunteering at the “Night to Unite”, where the West Fargo Police Department looks to interact with community members in a fun setting.
“Anytime you can get the citizens to engage and come out and talk with law enforcement or our police department or our fire department, any type of first responders out there, it’s a great deal,” said Dardis.
For the last 14 years, the “Night to Unite” gives people a chance to watch SWAT team demonstrations, meet police officers, and see how law enforcement makes a difference in the community.
“That’s how we prevent crime and control crime in our city. It’s only if the public can trust us. So, tonight’s all about them getting to know us,” said Chief Heith Janke of the West Fargo Police Department.
Another major element of the “Night to Unite” is trying to pique an interest in law enforcement among kids in West Fargo.
“Not as many people want to do this job. Our applicants drop, so it’s important for us to start building those relationships with kids when they are young so they aspire to want to be that next West Fargo Police Officer,” said Chief Janke.
Dardis says he’s hopeful that the “Night to Unite” will cultivate a new generation of police officers.
“The children are very engaged and talking with the officers, and they’re asking lots of questions and men and women who are here representing each of those entities, they do a beautiful job engaging with the children,” said Dardis.
Alongside the law enforcement, two North Dakota senate candidates, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp and Republican Kevin Cramer, were in attendance.