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Civil Service Commission upholds firing of Fargo police officer

Former Fargo police officer David Boelke appealed his firing. However, the city's Civil Service Commission voted to uphold his termination on Wednesday, Sept. 13. Kim Hyatt / The Forum

FARGO – The Fargo Civil Service Commission voted unanimously to uphold the termination of former Fargo police officer David Boelke after a second hearing on his appeal of his firing.

Commissioners agreed Wednesday, Sept. 13, that there was evidence to support Boelke’s termination, specifically his overall “performance and attitude,” Commissioner Kurt Losee said.

Commissioner Jane Pettinger said Boelke acknowledged that “he didn’t care to do his job,” and therefore he should “not be on the street as an officer with the Fargo Police Department.”

Pettinger said she was upset that “this was allowed to go too far. I would’ve let him go a lot sooner.”

The first hearing on Boelke’s appeal of his firing was held Friday, Sept. 8, when he told commissioners he was “flabbergasted that I’m being called a liar” after 15 years with the Fargo Police Department.

In firing Boelke last month, Chief David Todd cited an internal review of three months’ worth of service calls involving Boelke. According to testimony presented by the city Friday, in three of those calls no evidence could be found that Boelke responded physically to a scene, though he claimed to have done so.

To reinforce the claim that Boelke didn’t visit locations he was called to, the city presented evidence that included recorded GPS coordinates tied to where Boelke’s squad car traveled on the days in question.

Boelke’s attorney Mark Friese said the accuracy of the GPS software used by the city has been questioned by many who work in the law enforcement field.

On Wednesday, Friese asked the commission to consider removing any evidence of dishonesty from its findings to prevent any possible effects on Boelke’s future employment.

However, Losee was the only commissioner to vote in favor of a motion to remove the evidence. Commissioner Nancy Jordheim abstained, and all other commissioners voted against the motion.

Friese said after the hearing that he would be evaluating the commission’s finding to decide how to proceed. He said possible next steps could involve another appeal or having a court evaluate the circumstances of the evidence.

Kim Hyatt

Kim Hyatt is a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and a 2014 graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth. She started her newspaper career at the Owatonna People’s Press covering arts and education. In 2016, she received Minnesota Newspaper Association's Dave Pyle New Journalist Award and later that year she joined The Forum newsroom.

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