Meet the Sheriff

Richard W. Stanek is the 27th Sheriff of Hennepin County and is serving his second term in Minnesota’s largest county with 1.2 million residents.  He was first elected in November of 2006, and was re-elected in 2010.

A 30-year veteran of law enforcement, Sheriff Stanek began his career in the Minneapolis Police Department; he rose through the ranks from Patrol Officer, Detective, Commander of Criminal Investigations, to Precinct Commander.  While a police officer, Sheriff Stanek was elected five times to the Minnesota State Legislature; he chaired the House Crime Policy & Finance Committee and authored several omnibus crime bills, including: Minnesota’s Felony DWI law, DNA collection for predatory offenders, and Minnesota’s Homeland Security Act. In 2003, the Governor appointed him Commissioner of Public Safety & Director of Homeland Security for Minnesota. He was the first person to lead that agency after it had been expanded to include a homeland security component following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  

Sheriff Stanek currently serves in leadership positions with several national organizations and on several national boards:  National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) Executive Committee, chair of the NSA Homeland Security Committee, and vice-chair of the NSA Global Policing Affairs Committee. He serves on the Committee on terrorism of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and was recently elected Vice President of the LinCT Alumni Association Executive Team.  He is the immediate past president of the Major County Sheriffs’ Association (MCSA).  Among his responsibilities with MCSA, Sheriff Stanek participated in President Obama’s national law enforcement working group convened by the White House to address gun violence and mental health. 

He serves on both the Director of National Intelligence’s Joint Counterterrorism Assessment Team (JCAT) and Homeland Security/Law Enforcement Advisory Board. He is a member of the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council (CICC). CICC members advise the U.S. Attorney General on national and international issues of public safety and criminal justice.

Sheriff Stanek has been a featured speaker at national public safety conferences and training seminars on topics including: countering violent extremism (CVE), community engagement, intelligence-led policing, active shooter scenarios, crime policy, managing disaster recovery, and executive leadership. He has testified before Congressional Committees on the threat of gang-related crime and to the National Counterterrorism Center on the issue of CVE/Community. Sheriff Stanek also spoke at a Department of Homeland Security Countering Violent Extremism workshop, where he offered his executive level perspective on implementing CVE programs and building community partnerships. Sheriff Stanek served as an instructor at the 103rd session of the National Sheriffs’ Institute and on the faculty at the National Critical Incident Management Conference and the National Emergency Managers Association.

Sheriff Stanek earned a Criminal Justice Degree from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Hamline University. He completed training at the National Sheriffs’ Institute, the FBI’s National Executive Institute and Leadership in Counter-Terrorism, and the U.S. Army War College, National Security Seminar, 57th Session.


Read Sheriff Stanek's article: Countering Violent Extremism

Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Photos