Nichols said that the decision to run again had been made quite some
time ago, but there were things going on involving the sheriff's
department that he felt needed to take priority.
He cited that
during the time of the Christopher Harris trial, the department was
very busy assisting in that matter. Plus, he said it was a time when
he did not want to do or say anything that could jeopardize the case
his department and State's Attorney Jonathan Wright had built
Soon after the trial was completed, Nichols announced the arrest
of more than a dozen Logan County individuals involved in drug
manufacturing and distribution. Again, he said he needed to keep his
focus on that task at hand and didn't want to be sidetracked by
Nichols spoke about the evolution of the department over the past
12 years and the things that he is proud to have accomplished.
In addition to the day-to-day work on criminal cases and
investigation, Nichols said the department had to go through an
overhaul of sorts. In the beginning of his first term, he inherited
some internal problems that had to be addressed. State inspections
of the jail were failing to pass compliance standards, and there was
a great deal that needed to be done to bring the jail up to snuff.
Nichols said that was accomplished, and recent inspections have
resulted in excellent ratings.
In the 12 years, Nichols said there has been a "regeneration" of
the department. Today there are only five deputies who were with the
department when Nichols took office, and three of those will retire
He noted that there is turnover, but for the most part it is the
younger people who come and go. He noted that they use the
department as a springboard in their career, and he's OK with that.
Nichols noted that when officers depart, saying they have found a
new opportunity to better themselves, he wishes them well and wants
to see them succeed.
Nichols said that in his bid for re-election this year, he first
went to his deputies and put the question to them: "Should I run one
more time?" He said that had they said no, then he would have walked
away, but none of them did.
To that end, the deputies authorized their union to issue a
letter of endorsement for Nichols.
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Nichols said that in light of some of the arrests that have been
made and other work the department has going on, he might not be the
most popular person in Logan County, but he doesn't mind. He has the
respect of his officers as well as the county board, and he feels
that speaks a lot to the way he has handled himself in his position
in the past 12 years.
He noted that in addition, he has worked to be fiscally
responsible, saving where possible, and at the end of the fiscal
year turning back to the county the money he was able to save
throughout the year. He noted that he felt that was of particular
importance this year with the massive cost involved in the
Christopher Harris case.
Nichols said another thing he takes great pride in is the support
he has received from Wright, the Logan County state's attorney.
While the vicious murders of five members of the Raymond Gee
family are still fresh in everyone's minds, Nichols said it has not
been his only major case in the past 12 years. He noted cases such
as Louis Russo from 2005. In that case, Russo was convicted of
murdering his young daughter. Nichols also noted the 2003 conviction
of Jason Daniels, who murdered 18-year-old Brian Bobb and disposed
of the body in Kickapoo Creek Park.
Nichols said in addition to these major cases, there has also
been a great deal of work done in the area of drug enforcement.
He shared that the Logan County Sheriff's Drug Suppression Unit
was formed in 2004. Since then, 124 people have been investigated
for illegal manufacturing and distribution of narcotics in Lincoln
and Logan County. There have been 109 cases initiated, and the unit
has a 100 percent conviction rate.
When asked what goals he had for the next four years, he noted
the old saying, "If something isn't broke, don't fix it." He said
the Logan County Sheriff's Department isn't broke, it works well,
and he's satisfied with what he has accomplished.
He said that if he were to name a goal for the future, it would
be that of perfecting an internal officer evaluation process that
involves evaluating and working to improve officer reporting skills,
patrol skills and more.
Nichols, who is 57 and has lived in Logan County nearly his
entire life, will run on the Republican ballot. He will be opposed
in the February 2014 primary by Michael Geriets.
[By NILA SMITH]