About Rich Stanek

Rich served as the 27th Sheriff of Hennepin County, Minnesota for 12 years, with responsibility for the safety and security of 1.2 million residents. He managed over 1100 employees and volunteers, a budget of $125 million, and provided care and custody for inmates in the largest Jail and Sheriff’s Office in the Upper Midwest.  

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He is co-founder and Principal Consultant with Public Safety Strategies Group, LLC., bringing his wealth of knowledge from 36 years of public safety experience to clients across the country, including organizational leadership, agency management, national law enforcement best practices, crime reduction strategies, public policy advocacy, corporate security, and expert testimony.

He is the author of numerous publications providing education for residents regarding emerging public safety and justice issues: Mental Illness among Jail inmates, Opioid Abuse and Addiction, the nexus between Mass Shootings and Mental Illness, the Collapse of the 35W Bridge, Intelligence-led Policing, and FirstNet, the dedicated National Public Safety Broadband Network for First Responders.

Rich served two terms on the Board of Directors for FirstNet: its mission is to develop, build and operate the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network that equips first responders. FirstNet operates within the U.S. Department of Commerce with a nonpartisan Congressional authorization and $7 billion appropriation. Rich was first appointed in 2014 and in his second term, Rich served as FirstNet’s Chair of Outreach and Advocacy efforts nationwide.

Rich started his policing career in 1983, with the Cottage Grove Police Department and joined the Minneapolis Police Department in 1986; he rose through the ranks to Captain and led the Criminal Investigations Division (Homicide, Burglary, Robbery, Rape, Gangs & Narcotics). During those years, Rich developed strong relationships with residents, pastors, business owners, community groups and local elected leaders; they developed strategies to fight and lower violent crime in Minneapolis. They worked to elect Rich as Hennepin County Sheriff and he re-prioritized Agency personnel and resources for three proven crime fighting initiatives: a Violent Offender Task Force, Criminal Information Sharing & Analysis Unit (CISA) to serve the Sheriff’s Office and 36 local Police Departments in Hennepin County and 7 Counties regionally; and new Crime Lab technology (DNA testing, firearms testing, and Property Crime initiatives). As a result of his leadership, these efforts, and new partnerships, violent crime in Hennepin County dropped by 38% from 2006-2018.

Prior to serving as Sheriff, Rich was appointed by Governor Tim Pawlenty as the State’s Commissioner of Public Safety, and Director of Homeland Security, overseeing nine State Agencies with over 2200 employees; including the Minnesota State Patrol, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Emergency Management, Office of Justice Programs and State Fire Marshal.

Rich came to the forefront of State leadership when he was appointed Chairman of the State Peace Officer Standards & Training Board (POST) and then elected as a State Legislator; he served for 5 terms while also working as a Minneapolis Police Officer. He chaired the House of Representatives Public Safety Policy & Finance Committees and authored numerous key legislative initiatives, including Minnesota’s entry into the Nation’s Emergency Management Assistance Compact (“EMAC”), and post-9/11 information sharing and communications initiatives to better equip First Responders.

At both the state and national level, Rich has become well-known for his strong and visible advocacy for advancements in law enforcement public policy, technology, education, and best practices, through his elected and appointed leadership roles. As a result, Rich is a much sought-after media spokesperson, faculty presenter and keynote speaker.

During his service as Sheriff, Rich served as President of the Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA), Vice President of the National Sheriffs Associations (NSA); and President of the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association (MSA). He served as a Law Enforcement Senior Advisor to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Secretary of Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); He is the Past President of the Leaders in National Counterterrorism (LinCT); and served on the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council (CICC) and FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), where he held a top-secret national security clearance. Rich has testified numerous times before Congress regarding community policing strategies, 21st century Policing, countering violent extremism and community engagement.

Rich’s educational background includes an M.A. in Public Administration from Hamline University and a B.A. in Criminal Justice from the University of Minnesota. Additional professional training includes; the Southern Police Institute in Louisville, PERF’s Senior Management Institute for Police at Cambridge University, the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania, FBI National Executive Institute in Virginia and the Leaders in National Counterterrorism Training in Australia and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) in Israel.

Rich lives in Maple Grove, Minnesota, and has been married to his wife, Sally for 36 years; they have 2 adult children and a dog named Teddy. Rich is an avid Northwoods outdoorsman; where he enjoys time at his northern Minnesota cabin; hunting, fishing, boating, hiking and snowmobiling.