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West Fargo man joins Kenmare police

Dustin Westerman has been in Kenmare less than a month and already he has found a couple of interesting surprises he didn’t expect to find in a small community.

7/07/15 (Tue)

New to the force... On the job less than a month, Dustin Westerman is comfortable in his new position as Kenmare city police officer. Westerman, who grew up in West Fargo, replaces Kyle Kienholz who took a position with the Watford City Police Department.

By Marvin Baker

Dustin Westerman has been in Kenmare less than a month and already he has found a couple of interesting surprises he didn’t expect to find in a small community.

Westerman, who grew up in West Fargo, is the newest addition to the Kenmare Police Department.

“I was kind of surprised to see all the people at the downtown vendors market,” Westerman said. “And that White Buffalo Soda Fountain, you don’t find things like that in Fargo.”

He was also impressed that the local swimming pool had been open in June.

And, thus far he is impressed with the people living here. He said local residents have been really helpful to a “new guy” in town, welcoming him to Kenmare or borrowoing an item he may need but not immediately have, something that would never happen in the city.

Westerman has family members in Minot so in a way, Kenmare is close to home, or at least he will be able to spend family time more often.

And it’s also his family that helped him to choose law enforcement as a career.

Westerman said he has a brother who is a cop in Mandan and a half brother who is in law enforcement in South Carolina. Other family members have been in law enforcement 15 years.

“When you get out of high school, you have these great questions about life,” Westerman said. “So my dad asked, ‘why not be a cop?’”

He may be considered a rookie, but Westerman has heard the stories, he’s spent some time as a security officer and has law enforcement training at the Minnesota State Community and Technical College at Moorhead, commonly referred to as Moorhead Tech.

And more recently, Westerman finished his training at the Alexandria Community and Technical College in Minnesota, the same school Kyle Kienholz attended, the officer that Westerman is replacing.

In addition, Westerman is a seven-year veteran of the North Dakota National Guard, serving in the 231st Brigade Support Battalion in Fargo as a mechanic.

Westerman was recently promoted from specialist to sergeant in the National Guard and will now have additional responsibilities and will be stepping into occasional leadership roles.

He said he is still trying to learn all the laws in North Dakota, as some laws are a bit different in Minnesota, which he was taught in Alexandria.

With that said, Westerman wasn’t thrown into a “tank of sharks” when he got to town and reported for work. In his first week on the beat, he worked several hours with each of the other officers.

On his second week, he had his own patrol car but there was another officer on duty somewhere in town. The last couple of weeks, Westerman has been out on his own patrolling.

He’s already had a couple of situations to deal with. In one, Westerman was patrolling on U.S. Highway 52 when someone went screaming past him. Westerman engaged his lights and sirens and gave chase to the Kenmare Hospital. The man’s wife was having a baby and he was getting her to the hospital as quickly as possible.

In the second situation, a woman rolled her car but wasn’t injured, so luckily, that was nothing more than paperwork.

Westerman said he came to Kenmare on a job hunt. When he left the academy, he said the ideal position would have been with the Fargo Police Department, but jobs there are so competitive, it’s nearly impossible.

So, he applied in Minot having relatives there. While he was in Minot, he heard about Kenmare.

“I put in my application,” he said. “I’m just happy to get my foot in the door.”

When he’s not on duty, he likes going out on his dirt bike and enjoys snowboarding and motocross racing.

He recently joined the North Dakota National Guard marksmanship squad so is looking for opportunities to do more shooting. Westerman is also Scuba qualified.

Otherwise, he is looking forward to meeting people in Kenmare and becoming a part of the community.

“I want to get more involved,” he said... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!