Zibolski: ‘No intention’ to leave Fargo as city prepares closer look at police problems
FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski says he has no intention of going anywhere.
Zibolski was recently placed under extra scrutiny after city documents revealed that more than 30 police officers and support staff left the department since he was named to the post in August, 2020. Some of them allege a lack of leadership, low morale, understaffing and other issues. One departing officer called it a “crisis.”
“I have no intention of going anywhere” Zibolski said during an interview with KVRR news. “As long as I have the support of most of the commissioners, the department and the community.”
“I’m enjoying the job, I’m enjoying the department. I’m very impressed with the team that we have and that we’re building upon and I’m looking forward to future successes” Zibolski said.
City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn has called the situation in the police department a “disaster” and called for Zibolski’s dismissal. Zibolski was asked to respond.
“It’s important I work with the commission and that we have a good relationship. I have offered at any given time for any commissioner, to come in and sit down and address any issue with me. The offer remains, so, I would strongly disagree with his message,” Zibolski said.
One former officer wrote that if someone speaks up at the police department, there is fear of retaliation. Zibolski was asked whether there’s reason to fear him.
“I don’t think so” Zibolski said. “I’ve opened up a lot of communication channels. That was one of the issues when I first started. There was a lot of siloing in the department. Communications weren’t getting down to the line level, so we started a shift representative team…this is people across the department at all levels, line staff, sworn and civilian that we meet with once a month who address issues that maybe aren’t getting up to my level, or things of concern.”
“In terms of my improvement, I think there’s always room for improvement. This is a continuous learning environment.”
Commissioners on Monday voted to establish a performance improvement plan for the police department. Mayor Tim Mahoney says the plan will include examining moving shifts from 12 hours to 10 hours, strategies for retaining officers and an outside analysis of the department.