Chief's Bio

As I meet many of our citizens, I am often asked about my background history both professionally, and personally. So to give you a background, here is my history;

My first exposure to law enforcement was through a Law Enforcement Explorer Program in my hometown Police Department, in Devils Lake North Dakota. When I turned 18, I stepped into the position of Reserve Officer. After my exposure as an Explorer, and Reserve Officer, I knew my career field was going to be in police work. My sworn position began with the Grafton (Population 5,000) and Valley City (Population 8,000) North Dakota Police Departments as a Police Officer from 1991 through 1995. In 1995 I began employment with the Moorhead (Population 38,000) Minnesota Police Department as a Police Officer. As a Police Officer in Moorhead I had the opportunity to serve as a Union Steward, Use of Force Instructor, Field Training Officer, and Explorer Post Adviser. In 2005 I was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, and in 2007 to Lieutenant. I served as the Assistant Commander for Red River Valley SWAT from 2007-2012, this was a multi-jurisdictional team serving; West Fargo, Fargo, Moorhead, Cass, and Clay Counties (Population 200,000). I was fortunate enough to be selected as the Chief of Police for the City of Big Lake in 2012.

I have always been a strong proponent of career enrichment through education. In 1989 I graduated from the State of North Dakota Peace Officer Academy in Devils Lake. I received my Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Minot State University in Minot North Dakota in 1991. In 2006 I graduated from the University of Mary with a Masters in Management and Human Resources. Finally, in 2011 I attended and graduated from the FBI National Academy for Staff and Command in Quantico Virginia.

I was born and raised in a farming family, in Devils Lake North Dakota. I have been married to my Sarah Scharf since 1989, we have one son Andy who is also following in the law enforcement career field. Sarah and I are proud to call ourselves residents of Big Lake, its an honor to serve as your Chief of Police.

Joel D. Scharf