Fargo police to add more foot patrols downtown

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Fargo leaders say they're adding more police presence downtown. Following a recent fatal shooting in that area, officials addressed violence at Monday's City Commission meeting.

Octavio Gomez owns the Taco Brothers food truck in downtown Fargo. He says despite a recent fatal shooting in the area, he feels safe, and appreciates police working to keep things that way.

"They're doing a fantastic job,” he says, “This was an anomaly."

Gomez says he doesn’t feel threatened in the area, even around 3 a.m. when he closes on weekend nights.

"The location where I'm currently located,” he says, “There is a lot of foot traffic. There's a lot of people, so I don't feel unsafe. I haven't ever felt unsafe in the downtown area to be quite honest."

City of Fargo mayor, Dr. Tim Mahoney, at Monday’s City Commission meeting, said random acts of violence are rare in Fargo.

"I can wholeheartedly reiterate to everybody that Fargo is safe for people of all ages and walks of life," Mahoney said. "Even when considering our growth into a true metropolitan area."

Still, Fargo police aren't taking any chances.

"We are incorporating more foot patrols in the downtown area,” Fargo Police Chief David Todd said at the meeting, “because I think that person-to-person contact and that visibility is important."

Fargo police say they've already been increasing police presence during bar closing times—and are now adding more foot patrols, taking into account complaints and concerns of downtown businesses as well as the Downtown Neighborhood Association.

The police tell us the decision involved many factors, including cracking down on panhandlers and keeping liquor-license holders accountable.
As for the recent death of Halvorson, Fargo police say they're still investigating—but in Monday night’s meeting, Chief Todd said he believes they've found everyone they're looking for.

"It appears as though it was a negative verbal interaction between Mr. Halvorson and the two suspects...it doesn't appear it's related to the business, it doesn't appear that it's related to the downtown area,” he said.

"Many times when a violent crime is committed,” Mahoney said Monday night, “it has been discovered that the parties knew each other, and the crimes were not random."

And downtown food truck owner, Octavio Gomez, says in recent years he feels safer than ever.

"The lights that are located around Broadway here now weren't there until about 2014, so it was dark," he says.

Now his location is more lit up—though he still makes sure all his workers get in their cars safely at the end of a late night.