Meet the elected sheriff

Richard W. Stanek is the 27th Sheriff of Hennepin County. He was first sworn in on January 1, 2007, and is currently serving his third term.

Sheriff Stanek established two new crime-fighting units at the sheriff’s office to serve law enforcement agencies and communities throughout the county:

  • The violent offender task force, which conducts focused investigations on the county’s most violent offenders
  • The criminal information sharing and analysis unit, which works with law enforcement partners to provide analysis on criminal trends and activity 

In Minnesota, he has led the effort to improve psychiatric care for inmates with mental illness.

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As a 32-year veteran of law enforcement, Sheriff Stanek began in the Minneapolis Police Department, rising through the ranks from Patrol Officer to Commander of Criminal Investigations. While serving as a police officer, Sheriff Stanek was elected five times to the Minnesota State Legislature, where he served as Chair of the Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee. In 2003, the Governor appointed him Commissioner of Public Safety & Director of Homeland Security for Minnesota.

Sheriff Stanek has brought new awareness to several emerging public safety threats. He coordinated town hall meetings and legislative advocacy to target the heroin epidemic, prescription drug abuse, and human trafficking. In Minnesota, he has led the effort to improve treatment for inmates with mental illness by expediting medically-appropriate care. On the national level, Sheriff Stanek participated in President Obama’s law enforcement working group that addressed the intersection of mental illness and gun violence, and at his direction, the Sheriff’s Office was named as one of 15 demonstration sites for the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

Throughout his career, Sheriff Stanek has created opportunities to connect at-risk kids with positive role models. He founded the Hennepin County Sheriff Foundation, which provides programs for disadvantaged youth and supports Sheriff’s Office volunteers. He also serves in leadership roles for local non- profit groups that help youth including Treehouse and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities. 

Sheriff Stanek is past-president of the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association. On the national level, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce appointed him to the board of FirstNet, which is developing a wireless broadband network for public safety. He is the 1st Vice-President of the National Sheriffs’ Association, and the Vice-President of the Homeland Security Committee for the Major County Sheriffs’ 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 and his family live in Maple Grove.

Initiatives as sheriff

During his leadership of the agency, Sheriff Stanek developed the following initiatives with sheriff’s office command staff, sheriff’s office personnel, and law enforcement partners.

The Sheriff’s Community Engagement Team (CET)

  • Consists of sheriff’s office personnel, including Sheriff Stanek, who meet regularly with residents from diverse communities
  • Discuss crime prevention and public safety issues, as well as how to build trust between residents and law enforcement 

The Sheriff's Community Advisory Board

  • Gets updates regarding the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office budget, public policy initiatives, reform efforts, and educational outreach
  • Provide input and oversight to ensure the agency is transparent and accountable

Crime-fighting collaboratives

These crime prevention partnerships have reduced violent crime rates across the county, the metro area and the state.

Northwest Hennepin Crime Collaborative

Membership includes: 

  • Sheriff's office, county attorney's office and county corrections from Hennepin County
  • Police departments from Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Champlin, Maple Grove, Minneapolis, Plymouth, Robbinsdale, Crystal, New Hope, and Metro Transit.

West Hennepin Crime Collaborative

  • Sheriff's office, county attorney's office and county corrections from Hennepin County
  • Police departments from Three Rivers Park District, West Hennepin Public Safety, Corcoran, Deephaven, Medina, Minnestrista, Orono, Rogers, Wayzata, and Southlake Minnetonka.

Southwest Hennepin Crime Collaborative

  • Sheriff's office, county attorney's office and county corrections from Hennepin County
  • Police departments from Bloomington, Eden Prairie, St. Louis Park, Edina, Golden Valley, Minnetonka, Minneapolis, Richfield, and Hopkins.

Metro Regional Information Collaborative

  • A collaborative of sheriff offices from Hennepin, Ramsey, Washington, Anoka, Dakota, Carver, Sherburne, and McLeod Counties
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