Sheriff Margaret Mims in the running for a fourth term

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims submitted her paperwork Feb. 20 at the Fresno County Clerk’s Office, allowing her to run for re-election as sheriff in 2018. (Fresno County Sheriff’s Office)

When Margaret Mims was elected the first female Fresno County Sheriff in 2006, she didn’t know her historic leadership would continue for 12 years. Now, Mims hopes voters will give her four more to finish some of the major projects she’s started.

Mims set out 12 years ago as sheriff with the goal of bringing stability to the department, which she believes she has.

Mims recounts one of her largest accomplishments as improving the Concealed Weapons Permit Unit so those applying for CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon) licenses within the county have an easier time, yet still undergo a rigorous screening process and background check. Now, 13,000 residents in the county have a CCW.

Secondly, Mims championed getting the application approved for a new jail building to replace the current 1941 building in downtown Fresno. Now, the $100 million project is finally underway.

Third, as sheriff, Mims has revamped the department’s overall philosophy, instilling a commitment to community service as evidenced by the fact that the sheriff’s office continues to respond to every call, even though many other agencies have cut back on responding to lower priority calls.

“My philosophy is we are here to serve and as sheriff I’ve made sure the department concentrates on its role as a public service agency; I wanted to solidify that,” Mims said.

While service is up, under Mims, overall crime rates are also down, even though she said they have struggled to keep order in the midst of new laws like Prop. 47 and Prop. 57.

While Mims has had success in many of her endeavors as sheriff, one thing she didn’t anticipate dealing with when she was first elected was the economic downturn, which ultimately led the sheriff’s department to cut 98 deputy positions in 2010.

Now, before she leaves her post as sheriff for good, Mims wants the opportunity over the next four years to bring many of those positions back, not in one fell swoop, but over time. Though some positions have come back, Mims said the sheriff’s department is still 80 deputies shy of where they were back in 2006.

“I know it is going to take some time, but I want to provide a plan and put it in motion for how to add more deputy positions and how much it is going to cost,” Mims said.

This is just one of three goals Mims said she plans to accomplish if re-elected to a fourth term.

Arguably her biggest desire as sheriff is to witness the completion of the new jail, which just broke ground last month and is expected to be finished in two and half years.

Her third goal is to see a new eastside substation built to replace the old substation at Clovis and Shields avenues in Fresno. The board, she said, is currently in discussions about whether to move forward on this project so Mims could not confirm a specific location for the new substation. But, she said she is optimistic it will be approved and she would like to see that project come to fruition over the next couple of years.

As of March 1, Mims is the only candidate who has filed with the clerk’s office to run for Fresno County Sheriff in November 2018. The deadline for candidates to file is Friday, March 9, at 5 p.m. If no one else files, Mims will run uncontested.

Valerie Shelton :