Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims reflects on career ahead of retirement

"It will be very difficult to walk out of this office for the last time, out of this building for the last time," she said.

Dale Yurong Image
Wednesday, December 28, 2022
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims reflects on career ahead of retirement
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Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims is set to retire next week after leading the department for the past 16 years.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Margaret Mims made history when she was elected Fresno County's first female sheriff in 2006.

"I did know people were watching, though, and that was important to me," she said. "The message I hope that got out is anything is possible."

Mims used her grandmother's bible to take the oath.

Sheriff Mims has been boxing up everything from her 16 buckles from the State Sheriff's Association to books.

She'll leave the book of Government Bill to incoming Sheriff John Zanoni. It dates back to 1883 and even shows what then-sheriff Michael Donahoo made.

The new year will bring a life of leisure, travel, and more time to spend with the grandkids.

"I'm looking forward to, first of all, decompressing," she said. "You can imagine what this job and career is like when for decades you're working 24/7."

Some of the memories are not happy ones.

"The worst thing I've ever had to do as Sheriff is have to tell wives that, make the notification that their husbands had been killed in the line of duty and they weren't coming home," she said.

Mims' career began in 1980 when she was sworn into the Kerman Police Department by her father.

Three years later, she joined the Fresno County Sheriff's Office and rapidly rose up the ranks.

Sheriff Mims has taken her concerns over immigration reform and sanctuary state status to the top.

She met with both President Obama and President Trump - all while winning four terms in office.

"That's humbling, and I had to be worthy of that," she said. "I had to work hard every day to be worthy of that."

Mims also made sure deputies join for the right reason.

The sheriff also believed improving literacy could help reduce crime.

"The reading posse is a big deal to me," she said. "I'm a reader and I love to read. I can't imagine a home with children not having books available."

On January 2, Assistant Sheriff John Zanoni will be sworn into office.

"It will be very difficult to walk out of this office for the last time, out of this building for the last time," she said.