Fort Dodge Police Department

FDPD welcomes new officers, prepares for chief

The last year was a year of growth for the Fort Dodge Police Department, which welcomed six new officers to its ranks, as well as a new community officer.

Officers Vic Slape, Dominic Morriss, Max Patkins, Zach Colin, Keaton Schultz and Ciara Sturm joined the force in 2022. Community service officer Ben Westergaard started as the community service officer in the summer, a position created in March.

Downtown parking enforcement is the community service officer’s primary responsibility, but the officer will also do things such as getting abandoned vehicles towed away, helping the inspectors charged with nuisance violation enforcement and picking up bicycles and other abandoned property.

In January of this year, a proposal to gradually expand the department’s numbers in an effort to provide more proactive policing was presented at a Fort Dodge City Council meeting. The proposal would begin by adding three more officers in the fiscal year that begins July 1, two more officers in the 2024-2025 fiscal year, and another three in the 2025-2026 fiscal year, finally reaching the total of 48 officers.

“Basically what it boils down to is proactive patrolling,” Police Chief Roger Porter said.

“Again, 48 means more coverage for our city,” he added. “It means being more proactive and getting guns off the street, getting violent crimes off the street. Having 48 means we can go out and talk to our citizens, build those bridges with our community.”

2023 will be a year of change for the department. After nearly three decades in law enforcement, Chief Roger Porter is ready to hang up his hat.

Porter plans to retire from the department in April.

“I look forward to starting a new chapter and doing something a little different,” Porter told The Messenger in October.

The chief said he’ll be turning 55 in April and eligible to receive his retirement pension. He also wants to spend more time with his family and maybe start a second career.

“I want to be young enough to do something different,” Porter said. “I don’t want to be too old and not be able to do different things with my life.”

Porter’s tenure at the Fort Dodge department started in 1996 when he was hired as an officer under then-Police Chief Ivan Metzger. Over the years, Porter worked his way up the ranks, receiving a promotion to sergeant in November 2000. He was later promoted to lieutenant in 2004, and then to captain in November 2007. From September 2014 until the Fort Dodge City Council appointed him chief, Porter also served as the acting assistant police chief.

Porter was appointed chief of police by Fort Dodge City Manager David Fierke in March 2017, and was confirmed by the city council later that month. Porter became chief on July 3, replacing the late Chief Kevin Doty, who retired in December 2017.

The Civil Service Commission met in November to discuss recruitment for Porter’s replacement. Applications were open from November to mid-January. Those applicants will be screened in early February for advancement. Interviews of candidates are expected to take place Feb. 20 through March 3. Candidates will interview with three panels with members being community leaders, key partners, police executive peers, city management and police officers.

City Manager David Fierke is expected to make a selection from the results of those interviews and panel assessments by March 10 and extend a conditional offer.


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