FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Emotions ran high as Sheriff Margaret Mims announced her 42-year career in law enforcement will come to an end at the end of this term.
Serving as Fresno County sheriff for 16 years, Mims was the first female to hold that position in Fresno County as well as the first female captain and assistant sheriff.
She began her career as a Kerman police officer before joining the Fresno County Sheriff's Office as a deputy sheriff in 1983.
Sworn in in January of 2007, she notes three accomplishments she's most proud of: building community support and stability for the sheriff's office, promoting retention and recruitment.
Mims also touted the nationally accredited mental health system in the jail and the sheriff's reading posse.
"If we can improve literacy in Fresno County, we can eliminate crime," she said. "We can reduce crime by making that happen."
After her 2008 breast cancer diagnosis, Mims became a champion for breast cancer survivors and early detection.
Fresno Deputy Sheriff's Association President Eric Schmidt has worked alongside Sheriff Mims and in his role for the last 14 years, sharing both heartbreak and triumph, including the path to rebuild coming out of the recession.
He adds during her tenure, she worked tirelessly to secure the land and funding for a new substation, expansion of the jail and pushed for the best training and equipment for deputy sheriff's on the front lines.
"She's well-known anywhere in the state," he said. "In the nation, they know Margaret Mims is the Fresno County sheriff. She's put us on the map for sure."
Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer echoed those sentiments.
"She's been the spokesperson on a lot of issues when it comes to methamphetamine and immigration issues," he said. "I really believe it's going to be a big loss."
While serving as Chief of Police, Mayor Dyer says their friendship was the foundation of joining forces to ensure public safety in both the city and county.
Looking to the future, Sheriff Mims says as of now, she has no plans to run for any other office but to not rule anything out.
She also used her announcement to endorse Assistant Sheriff John Zanoni to replace her.