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Jessica Ballou, Published July 22 2012

It's My Job: West Fargo police detective puts together ‘pieces to the puzzle’

WEST FARGO – For Detective Trent Stanton, being a police officer was something that always appealed to him.

He likes helping people, and his brother is an officer, so it seemed like an obvious career choice.

For the past 6½ years, he has been an officer with the West Fargo Police Department Investigations Division. Before that, he was a deputy sheriff in southern North Dakota for about two years.

Even though he normally has a lot of paperwork to do, he said his day is “never really set in stone.”

Q: What’s your day-to-day routine like, or at least your normal duties?

A: I work Monday through Friday 8 (a.m.) to 4 (p.m.), and in the morning I come in, keep up on emails. I like to go through the calls for service from throughout the night and see if there’s anything to follow up on. The day kind of goes from there.

There’s a lot of time spent doing interviews, reports, processing evidence.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

Probably doing search warrants is the most exciting part. It’s the most high-risk type of stuff we do. We don’t do traffic stops like patrol officers.

Some of them are you knock on the door, some have to go forcibly into someone’s house.

It’s kind of hard to describe.

Interviews can be exciting, too, because you’ll be talking to someone, and you might not expect them to confess to a crime, but they’ll say “Yeah, I did it,” and then you say “OK, and what else did you do?”

What’s the most challenging?

Probably when you know someone’s lying to you and you can’t get the truth out of them.

It happens daily.

What’s one of your pet peeves as an officer?

When you don’t have all the pieces to the puzzle … not being able to put the whole case together.

Some cases don’t get solved. That’s the way the world goes.

Do you find it easy not to bring work home with you, or is it tough sometimes?

When you’re a police officer, you always have it in the back of your mind, but I do my best to leave my work here. That happens most of the time, but not all the time.

Sometimes you’ll wake up in the middle of the night with a new idea for a case or you’ll go, “Why didn’t I think of that (before)?”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Jessica Ballou at (701) 235-7311