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Officer Gary Bommersbach retires after 37 years with West Fargo Police Department

During Bommersbach's time on the force, he saw the department grow from just a handful of officers to more than 60. The city of West Fargo has also grown just as fast, going from around 5,000 to an estimated 40,000 according to results of the 2020 U.S. Census.

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Patrol Sergeant Gary Bommersbach is congratulated on his retirement during ceremonies on Friday, July 30, 2021, at West Fargo City Hall. David Samson / West Fargo Pioneer

WEST FARGO — At 3:15 p.m. Friday, July 30, West Fargo Officer Gary Bommersbach picked up his CB to sign off duty as he had every shift since he first pinned on the West Fargo badge 37 years ago.

But Friday, Bommersbach was signing off the for the last time, retiring from the force and his position as one of the city's few truck inspection officers.

Bommersbach, a native of Lisbon, North Dakota, moved to West Fargo with his family in 1964. After attending basic training in Bismarck, he returned to West Fargo once again to take a part-time job as a dog catcher and officer.

Six months later, Bommersbach became a full-fledged officer with the then-very small department.

Although Bommersbach now laughs at his time as a "dog catcher," it was still one of the many facets of police work that Bommersbach said he has always loved. From the simple calls for assistance to the public to city crises, Bommersbach routinely served West Fargo with a love of the job and his police family.

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"I liked anything that is exciting and of course, getting to help people," he said.

During Bommersbach's time on the force, he saw the department grow from just a handful of officers to more than 60. The city of West Fargo has also grown just as fast, going from around 5,000 to an estimated 40,000 when the results of the 2020 U.S. Census are released.

"(The growth) has been pretty wild, pretty crazy," Bommersbach said. "I used to know everyone in the department. Now I can walk down the halls and I don't know everyone by name."

Over the years, Bommersbach has become a mentor for others in the department for not only his hard work but also his supportive nature, but he continues to look up to his fellow officers, such as the former Chief Hanson and Lt. Greg Warren.

"Greg Warren, now that is a legend," Bommersbach said. "I'll always be grateful to Chief Hanson for hiring me."

Bommersbach, 62, said he decided it was simply his time to retire now.

An avid hunter, fisherman and all-around outdoorsman and builder, Bommersbach will likely be spending much of his retirement outdoors, but mostly he will be spending quality time with his grandchildren or "building things."

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As the West Fargo editor, Wendy Reuer covers all things West Fargo for The Forum and oversees the production of the weekly Pioneer.
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