Retired Fresno County Sheriff Mims reflects on long career

FRESNO, Calif. — Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims retired in January after a long career in law enforcement. She spent her last days packing up for the office.

“It’s really bittersweet to think that it will be the last time you leave this building,” Mims told KVPR in late December.

But Mims knew she was making the right decision. She retired after serving 16 years as a sheriff and 42 years in law enforcement.

The way she entered her career was in an unlikely way. It can be traced back to that fateful phone call in the late 1970s.


One night, Mim’s father calls her looking for a dinner date. He was invited to a party and Mims’ mother came home with a headache. So he asked Mims.

Fresno County Sheriff’s Office

Retired Sheriff Margaret Mims early in her career.

Mims obliged. Her father, a police officer in the community of Kerman, was present at the retirement party of the outgoing police chief. Mims spoke with the incoming chief who told her about his plans to hire the first female police officer in Carman.

In the car driving home from the party, Mims told his father that he would apply for the job.

“I’m a woman of faith. I know that that night’s call was no accident and launched a very long and rewarding law enforcement career,” Mims said.

Mims saw a move into law enforcement as a career opportunity. At the time, she was a single mother, working as an assistant teacher at a local school and helping out in the library and cafeteria.

She applied, was accepted, and had her first day at the Kerman Police Station in January 1980.

“first” career

She served in Kerman for four years and her arrival meant a change of department, necessitating a new badge. The term “patrolman” no longer applied. They have been updated to say “policeman”.

Mims continued his “first” career. She was the first woman in the Fresno County department to become her K-9 her handler and the first woman to achieve the ranks of sergeant, first lieutenant, captain and deputy sheriff, according to the Sheriff’s Office. .

She said she worked her way up the ranks when the opportunity arose to run for the county’s chief sheriff’s office.

“Like the phone call that night, when the former sheriff decided to retire and I decided to run, the door of opportunity opened and I won,” Mims said.

She was elected Fresno County’s first female sheriff in 2006 and has since been re-elected three times.

beyond the sheriff

During her term, Mims said she aims to defend constitutional rights, improve community relations and work on immigration reform — topics she discussed with the former president. barack obama When donald trump.


Fresno County Sheriff’s Office

she became a citizen headline Most recently, it was during a pandemic when she said law enforcement shouldn’t enforce health laws like wearing masks.

“Whenever I got a call from a national network or a government agency, it wasn’t because I asked, I hope I was the voice of reason,” Mims said.

While in the office, Mims said she had to learn “the art of delegation” to handle the many demands put to her. Her philosophy is “service first,” she said. She also tried to remain active in the community while feeling pressure to make her more accessible as an elected official.

“I have to be worthy of the trust that people have in me. I have maintained that and tried to be worthy of it,” said Mims.

The former sheriff, now a former sheriff, said she plans to spend her retirement years self-reflecting and de-stressing, but says she plans to make new plans “because I still have work to do.” rice field.

John Zanoni was inaugurated as the 26th Fresno County Sheriff on January 3.

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