WEST FARGO — Near the conclusion of the West Fargo City Commission meeting Monday, Nov. 15, West Fargo Police Chief Denis Otterness delivered positive news on the recovery of an officer who suffered a heart attack on duty over two weeks ago.

Tim Brown, who suffered a heart attack while booking two women on felony warrants for aggravated assault, returned to West Fargo Sunday after a two-week spell at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Otterness reported to the commission.

Otterness termed Brown's condition as "dire" at one point, but said he has made a significant turnaround. "It's just an absolutely miraculous recovery in two short weeks to have him back here with us," Otterness said.

West Fargo Police Chief Denis Otterness delivers an update on Officer Tim Brown's condition to the West Fargo City Commission Monday, Nov. 15. 
Contributed / City of West Fargo
West Fargo Police Chief Denis Otterness delivers an update on Officer Tim Brown's condition to the West Fargo City Commission Monday, Nov. 15. Contributed / City of West Fargo

Brown's heart is operating at nearly 100% capacity, Otterness added, "which we were told would never happen."

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Brown had been placed on a ventilator upon arrival at Nebraska Medical Center and continued to progress from there. The city reported on Nov. 3 that he was removed from the ventilator and able to speak to his family and hospital staff.

Otterness thanked the local community for the ongoing support for Brown, his family and the department. "We've been inundated at the police department with an outpouring of support," he said, referencing get-well cards which have been mailed to the department. "It's really been overwhelming for the Brown family and for us at the police department."

A GoFundMe established for the Brown family has raised over $23,000 since it was created on Sunday, Oct. 31.

Brown is the second West Fargo police officer to suffer a heart attack this year. Lt. Adam Gustafson died in May after suffering a heart attack on his way out of work.

In other police news, Otterness announced that the department had extended a conditional offer to Sgt. Pete Nielsen to become the assistant police chief, which Nielsen accepted.

Nielsen was selected from five internal candidates after a "rather long process," Otterness said. The chief did not give a timetable for when Nielsen's promotion would take place.

Sgt. Pete Nielsen has been selected as the West Fargo Police Department's new assistant police chief, chief Denis Otterness announced to the West Fargo City Commission Monday, Nov. 16, 2021.
Contributed / West Fargo Police Department
Sgt. Pete Nielsen has been selected as the West Fargo Police Department's new assistant police chief, chief Denis Otterness announced to the West Fargo City Commission Monday, Nov. 16, 2021. Contributed / West Fargo Police Department

Otterness expressed excitement to elevate Nielsen to the role. He will take over for Jerry Boyer, who resigned from the position in September due to an insubordination investigation. "I'm anxious to bring him on board," Otterness said. "I couldn't be happier to announce that he's been selected to be our next assistant chief of police."

West Fargo Mayor Bernie Dardis said the caliber of the applicants made the selection process a challenge. "They are exemplary officers in our department as well," he commented, referring to the other four applicants. "We had a very difficult decision to make because of the type of police officers that we have and were applying for this job."

Dardis called on those who weren't selection to ensure a smooth transition for Nielsen.