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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Fresno County Sheriff shares wisdom with Business and Medical program students

April 10, 2017

Sheriff Mims visits Madera campusOn April 3, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims spoke to more than 50 Business and Medical program students, staff and faculty on the Madera campus about her career in law enforcement and the importance of education and motivation in pursuit of life and career goals.

“It was really insightful,” says Medical Office Administration student Mercedes Reyes. “The stories she told were really motivational and covered a range of topics that everybody could relate to.”

In her youth, Sheriff Mims worked in the fields of her small Central California town, but dreamed of doing more with her life. She eventually went to work for the Kerman Police Department, but after just a few years she set her sights on working for the Fresno Sheriff’s Department. The first two times she applied for a position, she was denied. The third application brought her on board as a Deputy Sheriff.

“A lot of our students, at one time or another – or even their parents and grandparents – worked in the fields,” says Raul Ponce, Business Administration instructor and Learning Resource Center Coordinator. “It is beneficial for students to listen to other people and see what they have accomplished, despite their struggles. They hear it from us all the time, but we want them to hear it from someone outside the college.”

Early in her career, Sheriff Mims knew that she was fortunate to achieve her ambition of working in law enforcement, but she could not expect to advance to higher positions without continuing her education. She spent many years balancing work, home, children and school to qualify for promotions. She eventually earned her Master’s Degree and advanced to her current position as the Fresno County Sheriff.

“When she talked about being a single mom and going back to school to further her education while working – that’s at a point where I am right now,” says Mercedes. “There was a lot of inspiration in her words.”

The Question-and-Answer part of Sheriff Mims’ presentation proved lively. “One of our students asked Sheriff Mims if she had ever been in a high-speed car chase,” says Raul. She had. “She told us that the first time she did, she told her mother. Her mother’s reaction was that she was definitely afraid and she told Sheriff Mims to never speak to her about her work again!”

Sheriff Mims’ stories were much more than entertainment. “She gave us tips on how to further our own careers,” says Mercedes. “She said to never give up, but to just push through.”

Sheriff Mims also had an important message for the students about how they could help promote the importance of community and police working together. Explains Raul: “She told students to ‘please do not make us out to be the bad guy to children; keep it positive and tell your children that that’s the person (law enforcement officer) you need to see if you need help; the police are here to help you.’ That’s a different mentality for all of us,” he says.

The Madera campus invites a community leader to speak to students at the end of each 5-week module. Next month, Stella De La Pena, Director of Alzheimer’s Association for Fresno, Madera and Merced counties, will share information with students.