West Fargo Police celebrate public safety at annual Night to Unite

WEST FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – Celebrating public safety and bringing people together. It’s what West Fargo Police are hoping to do at this year’s Night to Unite.

Seventeen-year-old Mackenzie Irish says she attends the event every year.

“This shows kids like him we don’t drink and drive,” said Irish.

The teenager says there’s important lessons to be learned from the night.

“Shows other kids that are younger you can be whatever you want, no matter how old you are, no matter where you came from. You’re special in your own way,” she said.

The event includes safety demonstrations, informational booths, games and food vendors.

Some say it’s an opportunity for law enforcement to get to know the people they serve.

“The police are trying to bring the community together because the police cannot do their job without the community,” Charles King explained.

A leader in the Liberian community says the effort is appreciated but not everyone was taken into account when scheduling the event.

He says many Liberians were unable to attend as they work multiple jobs during the week.

“We want for our people to come because people are intimidated when they see police officers. So, if they come here, they would be able to come see police officers, they would be able to shake hands with police officers,” Ebenezer Saye said. “The fear would go away from them.”

Dozens of nonprofits are also set up in order to educate people about the services available in the community.

“Homeless kids, there’s many that — people aren’t really educated on it, they don’t know,” Sue Baron with Golden Drive Homeless Kids said.

Last year’s event was canceled due to the pandemic.

“I was really disappointed because it’s one of my favorite things to do,” said Haley Buss.

Besides education, those attending say interacting with officers on a one-to-one basis is why they keep coming back.

“They’re really kind and they talk to you like they care and it’s really fun,” Buss said.

At the event, West Fargo Police Chief Denis Otterness announced a tree will soon be planted in Lt. Adam Gustafson’s memory at Maple River Golf Club in Mapleton.

Categories: Community, Local News, North Dakota News