Victor J. Williams
Offices held past and present include: Licensed Peace Officer ~ 24 years, Itasca County Sheriff ~ 3 years, Itasca County Emergency Management Director ~ 3 years, Deer River Chief of Police ~ 15 years, Deer River Firefighter (retired) ~ 14 years, District 317 School Board Member ~ 8 years, District 317 School Board Chair ~ 4 years. Certifications and acknowledgments include: Associate of Applied Science Degree in Law Enforcement, BCA Certified Arson Investigator, BCA Leadership Training, D.A.R.E. Instructor, National Sheriff’s Executive Training, Rural Executive Training Institute Program, FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Training, Blandin Community Leadership Training, and recipient of the Patriot Award for honoring working veterans. Memberships ~ past and present include: Minnesota Sheriff Association/National Sheriff Association, Itasca County Senior TRIAD/Minnesota State Senior TRIAD, Northeastern Regional Radio Board – Policy Committee, Northeast Law Enforcement Administrators Council (NLEAC) ~ President, FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association (LEEDA), Association of Public Safety Communications (APCO), National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), 1,000 Lakes Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Deer River Lions Club ~ Former President, Minnesota Fire Chief Association, Minnesota Police Chiefs Association, Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA).
Why are you running for Itasca County Sheriff?
Currently, I hold the Office of Itasca County Sheriff and have filed for re-election. I am running for re-election because I have dedicated my life to protecting the people of Itasca County. I tend to have an old fashion view of the world and have always believed that good will triumph over evil. Being a law enforcement officer in the world today is very difficult and comes with many challenges. Being the leader of this group is even more difficult as you move through what it takes to administer and protect those you are putting in harm’s way. You not only must balance the safety and concerns of staff but must also consider the impact on the county as a whole.
This is not a job but a calling. To accept the duty of County Sheriff brings a tremendous amount of responsibility, but the rewards of helping my community and its people is why I do this job. In this position, you must believe in the greater good and focus on doing what is right on behalf of people. It is so easy to be pulled down by the amount of negative influences in the world but as the sheriff you cannot. The Office of Sheriff must be guided by honor, loyalty, courage and integrity these are principles that are ingrained in me, and the quote I challenge everyone to is, “Travel the path of integrity without looking back, for there is never a wrong time to do the right thing.”
What vision do you have for the future of the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office?
It is important to always be cognizant and proactive in addressing issues that could negatively impact the health of the county. The main areas of concern for the Sheriff are very complex and demand a flexible knowledge and approach as all issues are important and deserve immediate attention. Derailing drug traffic through the county, training staff to better understand mental health issues, working towards staffing a jail filled to capacity or looking for ways to fund the replacement of officer safety equipment with improved, up-to-date technology are just a few issues that are in constant need of review and modification.
One of the major challenges of this office is to provide the most basic of public safety services when bogged down with the fiscal hurdles we face today. Current budget levels do not meet the funding necessary to supply public safety service at the rate needed to meet demands. The budget for the sheriff’s office has been the topic of discussion since I took office in 2011 and will continue to be a challenge in the future. The budget is complex and is affected by several variables which are very difficult, if not impossible to predict. I am fortunate that I have a county board that is working very hard with me to address adequately funding public safety, so I can provide the services required to meet the challenges of today’s needs.
Above all else, in this position, it is my obligation to protect the people of Itasca County. This includes the people that make the Office of Sheriff work and provide me assistance every day. We face challenges every day in the law enforcement field and with no questions asked these people perform their duty. My vision is that as we move forward, that we perform our duties with respect and dignity, and I pray that at the end of the day we all return home unharmed and safe.