Forum staff reports, Published January 08 2014
West Fargo Police Chief Rasmussen announces retirement
“I am not leaving for health reasons, political reasons, scandal or problems in the department,” he said in a statement. “I am leaving because it’s time for me and for my family.”
His wife of 39 years, Verna Rasmussen, will also retire at the end of the school year, allowing them more time together. They have three children.
Before joining the West Fargo Police Department as its chief in 1995, Rasmussen worked in the Cass County Sheriff’s Office for 23 years.
Rasmussen recalls one of the toughest cases of his tenure. He’d just begun as chief that January, thinking it would be a fairly easy job given the size of the city.
Then, Cheryl Tendeland was murdered at the hands of a group of teens in November.
“Our statistics have grown and grown,” he said. “It’s been really a challenge to keep up with manpower and technology.”
In his retirement announcement, Rasmussen recognized city and department leaders who have made his success possible, including city commissioners, City Administrator Jim Brownlee and Assistant Chief Mike Reitan.
“I believe I will be leaving a department that runs as a well-oiled machine with excellent sergeants, lieutenant and assistant chief,” he said in the statement.
Rasmussen said has operated his department for some time with a staff that is prepared to step in if he needs to be replaced.
He suffered heart health issues in 2005 and again this year, he said. He cited Reitan as being an excellent example, among others, of a potential replacement in the chief’s role.
Rasmussen told his staff about his retirement before the announcement at their monthly meeting.