Hamline’s public administration programs build on an impressive track record of more than 30 years of preparing dedicated public servants who make important decisions that influence all areas of the sector: public safety, transportation, education, utilities, food safety, public health, and environmental control. Recently, the success of public administration and criminal justice alumni in the public safety sector has been particularly evident on the statewide and even international stage.
Former Ramsey County Sheriff Matt Bostrom DPA ’03 recently announced he would retire to further his research at the University of Oxford on character-based police hiring practices, a subject he also explored while pursuing his doctorate in public administration at Hamline. His successor is also a Hamline alumnus, Jack Serier ’90, who earned a degree in criminal justice. In 2011, the top-elected law enforcement officials in Minnesota’s three most populous counties, Hennepin, Ramsey, and Dakota, were all graduates from Hamline University.
From local, to county, to federal agencies, Hamline’s public administration programs boast graduates who are change-makers in their field and who are committed to inspiring their colleagues, citizens, and future generations in the vital work of public service. Read more about these impressive graduates below.
Brooker Hodges DPA '15, undersheriff, Ramsey County Sheriff's Office
While pursuing his doctorate in public administration at Hamline, Booker Hodges researched the lack of diversity in law enforcement and how it affects officers of color. His dissertation has been used on the national scale as the basis of new research. It is a topic that he says he experienced first-hand while working at the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office.
“The department should not look the way it does, in terms of diversity,” Hodges said at the time. “But government agencies are slow to change—law enforcement probably more so, because people stay 25 to 30 years.”
In his career in law enforcement, Hodges has served as a patrol deputy, narcotics detective, SWAT operator, and overnight watch commander. He currently serves as an inspector at the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office where he is responsible for government relations, labor relations, litigation, public information, data practices, and special projects.
Hodges served as the president of the Minneapolis NAACP for five years. During that time, he was responsible for a landmark agreement to improve working conditions for employees of color and to diversify the Minneapolis Park Board. Booker has been a diversity instructor for 15 years, and he is also a certified human resource manager. He is a sought after national presenter on the topics of unconscious bias and recruiting and retention of the 21st century workforce.
“If it were up to me, we’d have cops on foot, walking a beat, making those connections,” Hodges said in an interview for the Hamline Magazine. “Your crime stats might go down, but your relations would go up. And, you’d get to see that not everyone is a bad person.”
Sharon Lubinski MPA ’92, U.S. Marshal for the District of Minnesota
Not only is Sharon Lubinski MPA ’92 one of the highest-ranked female law-enforcement officers in the nation, she is the first woman to serve as a U.S. Marshal for Minnesota. She served in the Minneapolis Police Department for 20 years, rising to the rank of assistant chief, when President Obama nominated her for the office of United States Marshal in 2009.
"Assistant Chief Lubinski has dedicated her career to the noble cause of protecting her fellow Americans," said President Obama at the time. "She has displayed exceptional courage in the pursuit of justice, and I am honored to nominate her today to continue her selfless work as a U.S. Marshal for the District of Minnesota."
The Senate confirmed the nomination in December of 2009 and Lubinski has held the position ever since. She graduated with the Master of Public Administration degree from Hamline in 1992 and is currently pursuing her doctorate in public administration at the university, as well.
Lubinski has more than 40 years of experience in law enforcement at local and federal agencies. She served as a patrol deputy and a criminal investigator for the Dane County Sheriff’s Department in Madison, Wisconsin for more than eight years before moving to the Minneapolis Police Department. In 2001, Lubinski received the Police Executive Research Forum’s Gary Hayes Award for Initiatives in Policing for the Minnesota HEALS Homicide Reduction in Minneapolis. In 2014, she received the Distinguished Achievement Award from Hamline School of Business.
Matt Bostrom ’DPA ’03, Former Ramsey County Sheriff
While pursuing his doctorate in public administration at Hamline, Matt Bostrom DPA ’03 focused his dissertation research on character-based police officer hiring. In 2016, Bostrom announced he would retire as sheriff of Ramsey County to continue that research full time at the University of Oxford.
“Hamline helped me become a better executive. I expanded my network and understood that public safety was a part of larger infrastructure,” Bostrom said in a 2015 interview. “I don’t know anybody that has gone through the Hamline program who hasn’t come back and said that’s the best thing I ever did.”
Bostrom began his law enforcement career in 1982 at the Saint Paul Police Department and served in multiple roles, including sergeant, lieutenant, commander, senior commander, chief of staff, assistant chief of operations, and assistant chief of Homeland Security and Support Services. He served as the chair of the Ramsey County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. He was also a member of the National Sheriffs’ Association, National Sheriffs’ Institute-Education and Training Committee, Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association Training Committee, and the State of Minnesota Violent Crime Coordinating Council.
As Ramsey County Sheriff, Bostrom led Minnesota’s second largest sheriff’s office, which protects more than 500,000 residents in a metropolitan area of 3.2 million people. Bostrom commanded the 400-plus member department and administered a nearly $50 million annual budget. You can read more about his retirement and future plans for research at Oxford in the Star Tribune. (LINK)
Dave Bellows MPA ’96, Former Dakota County Sheriff
Dave Bellows, MPA ’96 began his law enforcement career in 1980 with the Lakeville Police Department and rose quickly through the ranks. In 1999, Bellows moved to the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office where he moved progressively through the ranks from commander, to deputy chief, and then to sheriff from 2010-2014. Bellows oversaw nearly 200 employees, an annual budget of more than $18 million, and the office's operations.
"I am proud to say that Dakota County is viewed as one of the most progressive, innovative counties in the state," Bellows said in a press release announcing his retirement. “The citizens of Dakota County can take pride and comfort in knowing their county continues to be one of the safest places to live. Our crime rates remain very low for a metropolitan county. This has been accomplished by maintaining a cooperative spirit in working with our law enforcement partners across the county. The Dakota County Drug Task Force is recognized as one of the best in Minnesota.”
Jack Serier ’90, Ramsey County Sheriff
When Jack Serier came to Hamline University as an undergraduate in 1986, he thought about becoming a history professor or maybe getting into business. However, a student worker position with Hamline’s Office of Safety and Security and a ride along with St. Paul police officers changed his career ambitions and trajectory.
“It captured my imagination. It was a combination of the excitement of it but also helping people,” Serier said in an interview with the Star Tribune. “I always had service in my heart from being a young kid, from being a Boy Scout. I saw a pathway for me to do that.”
After graduating from Hamline University in 1990, Serier worked as an officer at the Stillwater, Eagan, and then Saint Paul police departments. He went on to earn his master’s and doctoral degrees and reached the rank of commander in the Saint Paul Police Department. He began working at the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office in 2011. In January of 2017, The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to appoint Serier as the county’s 22nd sheriff.
Rich Stanek, MPA ‘89, Hennepin County Sheriff
Rich Stanek MPA ‘89 began his career in law enforcement as a police officer on the overnight shift in Minneapolis’s fourth precinct while at the same time pursuing his master of public administration at Hamline. He rose through the ranks of the Minneapolis Police Department, from patrol officer to commander of criminal investigations. He was elected five times to the Minnesota State Legislature where he authored the state’s felony DWI law. In 2003, he was appointed as commissioner of public safety and director of homeland security for Minnesota, and he chaired the House Crime Policy and Finance Committee. He was sworn in as the 27th sheriff of Hennepin County on January 1, 2007, was re-elected in 2010 and 2014. He is currently serving his third term.
As the chief law enforcement officer for the Upper Midwest’s largest county, Sheriff Stanek is responsible for a county of 1.3 million residents. Among the initiatives Stanek has created during his time at the sheriff’s office are the Sheriff’s Community Engagement Team, the Sheriff's Community Advisory Board, and crime-fighting collaboratives for four regions of the county. The U.S. Secretary of Commerce appointed Stanek to FirstNet, which is developing a wireless broadband network for public safety officials across the country. He is on the board of directors for the National Sheriffs’ Association and is also the immediate past president of the Major County Sheriffs’ Association. Throughout his career, Stanek has been committed to connecting at-risk kids with positive role models. He founded the Hennepin County Sheriff Foundation to provide programming for disadvantaged youth, and serves in leadership roles for local non-profit groups that help youth including Treehouse and the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities.