Richard W. Stanek is the 27th Sheriff of Hennepin County and is serving his second term in Minnesota’s largest county with 1.3 million residents. He was first sworn in on January 1, 2007, and was re-elected in 2010.
A 29-year veteran of law enforcement, Sheriff Stanek began his career in the Minneapolis Police Department; he rose through the ranks from Patrol Officer, Detective, Precinct Commander, to Commander of Criminal Investigations. 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 Minnesota’s Felony DWI law, Minnesota’s standard for DNA collection for predatory offenders, and Minnesota’s Homeland Security Act of 2002. In 2003, he was appointed by the Governor as Commissioner of Public Safety & Director of Homeland Security for Minnesota.
Sheriff Stanek currently serves in leadership positions with several national organizations and on several national boards: National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) Board of Directors, chair of the NSA Homeland Security Committee, and vice-chair of the NSA Global Affairs Committee. In June of 2013, Sheriff Stanek was elected to serve as the next Sergeant-at-Arms for the National Sheriffs’ Association. In January of 2012, Sheriff Stanek began a two-year term as President of the Major County Sheriffs’ Association (MCSA). Among his responsibilities with MCSA, Sheriff Stanek participated in the President’s national law enforcement working group that was convened by the White House to address gun violence. In 2013, he testified at the Minnesota State Legislature on improving the system for criminal background checks and the intersection of extreme gun violence and untreated mental illness.
He also serves on Homeland Security’s Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group (ITACG), on the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council (CICC), and on the Director of National Intelligence’s Homeland Security/Law Enforcement Partners Group. Sheriff Stanek has been a featured speaker at national public safety conferences and training seminars on topics including: countering violent extremism (CVE), intelligence-led policing, crime policy, managing disaster recovery, and executive leadership. He has testified to a Congressional Committee on the threat of gang-related crime and the National Counterterrorism Center on the issue of Countering Violent Extremism/Community Engagement. 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. He is author of Inside the Minds: Immigration Insights, published by Aspatore Books, 2011.
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.