Photo by Hillary Ehlen
Downtown Resource Officer, Fargo Police Department – Class of 2019
Can you give me a brief background on what you do and your journey?
I moved to the Fargo Moorhead area from Colorado in 2003 to go to school at MSUM. I was a two-sport college athlete and majored in Criminal Justice. After completing the Police Academy, I started my first real job at the Fargo Police Department in 2008 and have worked as a patrol officer for the majority of my career. I am involved with the training program within the department and help train and mentor new officers and trainers. I am currently one of three Downtown Resource Officers (DRO) and work during the day in Downtown Fargo. I interact with anyone who works, lives or comes to visit downtown and do my part to promote a safe environment for everyone. This is my last year as a DRO, which is bittersweet, but I have mostly enjoyed building partnerships with a multitude of service providers in the area to problem solve some of downtown’s most apparent issues, one of them being homelessness. At the Fargo Police Department, we do our best to provide the best customer service to our community and partnering with different entities has really expanded what we can do to help someone in need.
What advice would you give to young women who want to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t be afraid to take a seat at the table, even if you have to force your way in. As women, we tend to knock ourselves out of the competition before we even set foot in the door.
Have you drawn from the program in your profession?
My involvement in the United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program was extremely eye-opening as to the many different approaches to leadership. Law enforcement, in general, is primarily viewed as para-military organizations and a lot of training, specific to leadership, tends to be similar. I was really looking for an experience that would expand my view of what leadership is and this program did that for me and more.
What does authentic leadership look like to you? Why is it important?
Authentic leadership was a term I had not heard of before starting the program. At the core of authentic leadership are relationships that you build with those you work around. Building those relationships creates an environment where members can feel supported, heard, trusted, and open to working together as a group to create ideas and solutions to problems you are faced with. Through building relationships, those you work with are also more open to constructive feedback as it comes from a place where they know you truly care about their wellbeing. It fosters a true team mentality.