In the early 90s, Jim Hildebrandt began a new career working with the Redwood County Sheriff’s Department. That move led to his current position as jail administrator for the sheriff’s department.
“Before working here I was in sales,” Hildebrandt said, adding he was looking for a change in profession when he made the move to the county job.
As a jail administrator, Hildebrandt’s role is multi-faceted, as he works not only with the prisoners and law enforcement but also with the community.
Hildebrandt’s efforts in doing his job to the best of his ability were recognized recently, as he was named the Bruce Eckley Out-standing Correctional Professional of the Year.
“They give the award out every year at our annual conference,” said Hildebrandt, admitting he was surprised he had been selected.
The award’s namesake, Bruce Eckley, worked in jail administration for the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Department and was known for his dedication to doing his job the right way.
After his death from leukemia at the age of 39, those who wanted to preserve his legacy did so by honoring others who demonstrate the same commitment to their job.
Those being nominated must demonstrate ethics and professionalism when dealing with inmates, the public and co-workers, must display and promote a positive attitude, must be self-motived and exhibit leadership and decision making abilities, must support administration and must have a proactive and progressive approach in taking on extra duties and responsibilities.
In the nomination letter Hildebrandt was de-scribed as one who has been active in the Fifth District Jail Administrator Association. He has served as president of that entity since 2006.
Under his leadership, the association has partnered with the West Central Jail Administrator’s Association to expand the correctional officer conference offering training for the state’s experienced correctional officers, the nomination letter states.
It is through Hildebrandt’s leadership that this conference has been such a success, those who nominated him wrote, adding it is his ability to foster cooperation, listen and work together with others toward a common goal that help demonstrate how he leads.
The efforts he has made at the association level demonstrate he is willing to go above and beyond his regular duties, states the letter.
“Jim is a valued member of the Fifth District Jail Administra-tor’s Association and to the State of Minnesota as a leader in developing and providing quality training for correctional officers in Minne-sota,” added those nominating him.
Hildebrandt, who said he is not one who goes out looking for awards or recognition, said he appreciates being nominated and selected for this honor.
Page 2 of 2 - He also expressed his appreciation to those who nominated him for the award.
“I like coming to work every Monday morning,” Hildebrandt said. “This is a job you have to like doing, and I do. This is a fun job for me.”
The award was presented Feb. 6 at the conference in Brainerd.