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Community Policing


The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services … COPS for short … is a component of the U.S. Department of Justice. In North Dakota, it has helped fund 273 additional positions at 73 North Dakota law enforcement agencies. The idea behind community policing is to build trust and mutual respect between police and communities. It emphasizes personal contact between police and citizens, combining traditional law enforcement with prevention, problem solving, and community engagement.

Fargo was one of the early cities to implement the strategy. On this date in 1992, the Fargo Police Department announced that Officer Duane Ihli was assigned to the downtown area as the city’s first Community Policing of Officer. Ihli was assigned to work specifically with Fargo merchants. Police Chief David Rogness said it was important for people in the downtown area to have a familiar police officer who could help them with small problems as well as major crimes.

Sue Braun of the Downtown Business Association said both merchants and shoppers were delighted to have a go-to officer assigned to Fargo’s downtown. She said Ihli was quickly becoming a familiar face.

Community oriented policing was a nationwide movement, a return to the days when policemen walked a beat and were known to the citizens. The Fargo Police Department had been discussing the program for over a year, but there was a shortage of officers, preventing it from being implemented sooner.

There was such a positive response to the downtown officer that another was assigned to the West Acres area, and Rogness hoped he could one day expand the program even further.

Today, community policing remains a cornerstone strategy for the department, with a team of Community Trust Officers, an LBGT liaison, two downtown resource liaisons, several school resource officers, and a cultural liaison to work with new Americans.

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher


Fargo Forum and Daily Republican. “Day in, day out on downtown beat.” 16 November, 1992.

Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Department of Justice. "https://cops.usdoj.gov/Default.asp?Item=35" https://cops.usdoj.gov/Default.asp?Item=35 Accessed 24 November, 2016.