Tim Clements runs for sheriff; Snellman native proud of his 28 years with law enforcement
Minnesota State Patrol Officer Tim Clements’s love of law enforcement started back when he was only three or four years old.
“There was this conservation officer that used to visit our family’s little resort on Shell Lake to check fisherman, and one day he pinned his badge on me,” said Clements. “I thought that was so cool … I remember having this respect for law enforcement even back then.”Clements, who was born and raised in Becker County in the Snellman area, has thrown his hat in the ring for Becker County Sheriff.
It’s a move he is making based on his 28 years of experience in law enforcement and a goal he had set when he was in college — a goal to serve as sheriff of his home county.
‘Hitting the road’
When Tim Clements graduated high school from Park Rapids in 1982, he was already planning for his career in law enforcement.
The Snellman guy whose parents had instilled in him the spirit of serving one’s community, went straight to Alexandria Tech, where he graduated with a two-year degree in law enforcement.
Upon graduation, he was hired as a police officer first in Preston, Minn, then Willmar, serving a couple of years in each town.
In 1990 he was recruited by the Minnesota State Patrol to work down in southern Minnesota, where he stayed for the next five years.
But in 1995, home was calling.
Clements moved back to the Snellman area, where he built a house, built a family (consisting of wife Jenny and three children — Brock, Morgan and Jake), and continued building on his career in law enforcement.
His draw towards the career field proved right on for him.
“You always want to serve in your home community because you want to be helpful,” said Clements, who says being from Becker County and knowing a lot of people here has helped him handle delicate situations.
“Because they knew me, I was able to actually talk to them,” said Clements, who also had to do a death notice on friend whose child was killed in an accident.
“That was tough, but they later told me that they were glad it was me who was there instead of some stranger.”
Clements says although there are tough days on the job, most are filled with chances for him to provide public service.
“And that’s what you get into this job for,” he said, “I’m old school in that I think you should help people out when they need it. If you come across somebody with a flat tire, help them change it instead of just calling the tow truck right away.”
That “old school” way of thinking has done well by Clements, who has continued to grow within his profession.
“I’ve been a field training officer, background investigator, firearms instructor, and defensive tactics instructor for the State Patrol,” said Clements, who has also been the station sergeant in Detroit Lakes for the past six years.
“I bring those qualities of instruction with up-to-date training,” said Clements, who says the State Patrol has the benefit of receiving training from some of the best and brightest trainers in the country.
“You have to be progressive and not rely on training from 10 years ago, so that’s what I want to bring to the department, is updated training and evaluations on employees … giving them the knowledge and technology for them to be a complete officer.”
Clements says he made his decision to run for Becker County sheriff after some retired and current deputies from the department approached him about doing so.
“And what some officers are telling me is that sometimes you need a voice from outside to come in … to bring new vision,” said Clements, who says for years he’s had a great working relationship with other areas of law enforcement, as they all end up working together and backing each other up.
“The sheriff’s office has hired a lot of people in the last few years, and if you can hire a leader that shows them professionalism and respect for people, these are the people if you train them right we’ll have for the next 20, 25 years,” said Clements. “So it’s important that they get that leadership.”
Clements says if he’s sheriff he will have an open-door policy for anybody to come in with problems or ideas and that accountability is paramount for him.
“I also would like the citizens of Becker County to know who their deputies are and know them by name,” said Clements. “This would be the stepping stone to building cooperation and trust with the public they serve.”
Clements also says the cost of housing prisoners in Hubbard County, along with updating the current Becker County Jail facility, is a huge concern to the County administrator and the County Board. “I have been monitoring the progress being made and I am confident that possible solutions are currently being looked at,” he said.
In the coming months, Clements intends to be out in the community shaking hands and taking ideas.