Fargo honors its heroes

The city of Fargo and its citizens continue to impress. Their collective response, and their unwavering support for the peace officers and first responders who came under gunfire on July 14, 2023, has been an example that other communities should look to emulate.

This morning in the Fargo City Council chambers the city honored its first responders in an event called “We Honor the Heroes.”

During the ceremony Police Chief David Zibolski and Fire Chief Steven Dirksen awarded their respective officers and firefighters with awards related to their actions on July 14. 

A few things were notable to me. Most notably, the council chambers were packed with citizens who provided several standing ovations for their officers and firefighters during the event. Less notable, but very commendable, was the omission of the offender’s name during the ceremony.  The few mentions of the offender referred to him as “the killer” or “the suspect.” Well done.

As I noted in July, Fargo should appreciate the pro public safety sentiment it has fostered and do everything in its power to hold on to and cherish that sentiment. 

“Fargo can be proud that it came together in support of its police family — not all communities do.”


“… many communities aren’t represented by leaders that have the courage to speak out for what is right. Many people have the misfortune to live in communities that are led by activist voices which drown out the silent majority. Fargo would be wise to cherish what they have and hold on to it tightly.”

As a result of the anti-police sentiment that is present in far too many communities, law enforcement agencies have struggled to retain and recruit law enforcement officers.  Fargo appears to be bucking that trend. If there’s one concern it would be the ratio of budgeted officers to citizens which stands at about 1.44/1,000. This is far below the national average of nearly 2.4/1,000. 

It’s also encouraging to learn that each of the surviving officers involved in the July 14 critical incident have committed themselves to remaining in law enforcement and continuing to serve the city of Fargo. That’s not always the norm following such an event, and it’s a testament to the value Fargo PD has put on officer wellness and support.