Sheriff Paul Laney Reflects on 34 Years of Law Enforcement Career

Laney has been Cass County Sheriff for 12 years


FARGO, N.D. — December 31st will mark the end of a 12–year–career at the Cass County Sheriff’s Department for Sheriff Paul Laney.

He’s worked in law enforcement for more than 30.

When Sheriff Paul Laney was a child, his dad worked as a reserve deputy for Cass County.

It was the first of many dominoes that fell.

“I always thought that was cool. I was always fascinated when I saw the law enforcement officers, when we played cops and robbers, I always wanted to be the cop,” Laney said.

Inspiring Laney to enlist in the Marines after graduating from West Fargo High School in 1984. He then worked for the Fargo Police Department and Red River Valley Swat, before being sworn in as Cass County Sheriff in 2007.

“Wow, yeah that’s a great memory for sure. It’s weird because it seems like it was just yesterday and other times, it seems like it was a lifetime ago,” Laney said.

A moment he used to prove to community members they picked the right man.

“Every day I use that as my motivation to remember who I work for, to keep me humble and to remind me that every single day, I have to bring them the best I can bring,” Laney said.

“I don’t know what size shoes he wears but they’re pretty big shoes so, definitely I mean, he set that bar really high,” said Sheriff-Elect Jesse Jahner.

While he may have excelled at serving the community, some say Laney’s reputation at the annual law enforcement burger competition proved he was no master behind the grill.

“That is a myth. I would actually call that fake news. Sheriff Laney is known for being last in the burger cook off. If there’s one thing he always finished last in it was the burger cook off,” said West Fargo police chief Heith Janke.

“I finished ahead of him last year so I don’t really know what we would describe his cooking as. Inedible probably,” Laney said.

That’s the kind of comradery Laney will miss being apart of as he gets ready to hang up his gun belt for good. Although it’s not what he will look back on the most.

“I haven’t had a job in 30 years. I’ve had a passion that I got to go do every day. When you walk in the community as a law enforcement officer, you see a lot of horrible things. I think the biggest thing is you wake up and you know you matter,” Laney said.

It’s the feeling of taking on a huge responsibility and always doing what’s right.

Sheriff Laney and his wife plan to move to northern Minnesota, where he will work for a law enforcement technology company based out of Wisconsin.

Categories: Community, Local News, North Dakota News