|An up close and personal interview with U.S. Police Veteran and Togetherweserved.com Member:|
DEP John C Nicholson (1976-Present)
Transylvania County Sheriff's Department
WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO MAKE A CAREER IN LAW ENFORCEMENT?
As a child I heard stories from my grandfather, a retired Nassau County NY Police Captain of the Prohibition, Rum Running and organized crime. My father after serving in the US Navy, Pacific Theater WWII, worked as a Court Officer for Nassau County NY while attending Hofstra University at night. Although I majored in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting my inner being kept calling to me and reminding me of the stories I heard from my father and grandfather. Their interest and desire to help people and serve the community where they lived and the effort to make it a better place to live impressed me. I always knew of both men to be of integrity with a high degree of personal and professional ethics. Law Enforcement was literally in my blood.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR CAREER PATH AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW?
I started in uniform with the Patrol Services Bureau working midnights and then went to the evening shift after two years. I enjoyed working evenings due to the level of activity and the ability to do some proactive assignments. I was promoted to Lt and stayed on patrol as a team leader. In less than a year from my promotion to LT the Support Services Bureau Captain vacated his position and with my Business/Accounting background I was successful in competing for the Captain's position. I worked as the Support Services Bureau Captain for five years and then transferred to the Criminal Investigations Bureau as Captain due to a retirement. The Captain who retired from CIB was also the Assistant Chief. Two years after his retirement I was appointed by CIty Council as Assistant Chief of Police.
I worked CIB for twelve years with very competent and dedicated Detectives with which I share many fond and sad memories. In 1997 the Chief asked me to transfer to the Patrol Service Bureau where I remained until the Chief's retirement in July 2007 when I was appointed as Chief of Police until my retirement Dec 31, 2007.
Since retirement I have been busy as a volunteer in my church, during tax season with AARP's TaxAide program and serving as a board member for my home owners association. Additionally, I work part time as a reserve deputy sheriff for the Transylvania Co Sheriff's Office, NC.
FROM YOUR ENTIRE LAW ENFORCEMENT CAREER WHAT PARTICULAR INCIDENT HAD THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
Throughout my career there were many incidents which affected me in various ways but I would have to say the one which impacted me the most was the killing of one of our officers, Dennie Q. Enevold. Dennie was a Marine, he was hard nosed but cared very much aboutpeople and the community. He was diligent in his duties and was a hound dog when it came to sniffing out narcotics. One fateful night while patrolling he spotted a car parked on the side of the road and stopped to investigate.He encountered a person who had come from a fenced in complex and radioed in that he was out with a subject and then there was no further radio contact. Dennie and the subject became involved in a physical altercation in which Dennie lost his service weapon retrieved by the subject who then shot Dennie in the face. Dennie lost his life.
I remember clearly the impact it had on all of us at the PD, officers in shock, bewildered, crying, mad. When an incident of this nature takes place it is truly a reflection on the officers in how they handle the incident and subsequent investigation. In this case officers did there job professionally and maintained their ethics, they did for Dennie so that his killer would be held accountable.
Officer safety training has come a long way since the early 80's. It is sad though that we have to learn new and improved survival tactics from the deaths of others.
I think of Dennie often and feel that he was watching over me when needed to keep me safe and out of harms way as I moved along in my career.
Thanks Brother Dennie, R.I.P.
WHICH INDIVIDUAL PERSON FROM YOUR CAREER MADE THE MOST POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON YOU AND WHY?
I would say there are two men that influenced me the most in my career are, Assistant Chief Dubois Edmundson (CIB) and Captain Pete Fain (PSB). Both men taught me a lot by watching how they did their jobs and how they interacted with the public. Both were dedicated professionals of great integrity.
Chief Edmundson had an uncanny way of being able to talk to anyone and they would tell him their life story. He was an avid outdoorsmen, fishing and hunting. He would take a low level approach to crimes and suspects and blind them by his mild manner. No one could match his ability to obtain a confession. I admired his abilities as an investigator and his communication skills.
Captain Fain was a tall stout man who also farmed. He said little but when he did you listened. I found him to be one of the most straight forward administrators I ever knew. He told it how it was, no beating around the bush, no color coating or sales pitches. Captain Fain was firm but fair and treated you as if you were one of his children. He was patient to allow you to make mistakes on your own and then would take the time to explain or show you how you could have done things differently.
I guess the moral to the story was that you treat everyone with respect, be patient, take your time looking at all the angles and allow others to grow at their own pace and above all walk with integrity.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNED AS A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER?
How precious life is! Life is just to short. Many people take life for granted but when you see and are exposed to what we as law enforcement officers do you develop a better appreciation for life especially your family. Make every day count for tomorrow is not promised.
HOW HAS SERVING AS A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU CONDUCT YOUR PERSONAL LIFE AND YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS OUTSIDE OF THE DEPARTMENT?
I would say living my personal life is pretty much the same as my professional life. As a Christian I believe in love of God and family of which we all are honesty and integrity, respect for others and their property, and not bearing false witness. The law enforcement code of ethics is a goal to srtive for as a police officer each and every day both on and off the job.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR A ROOKIE WHO HAS JUST PUT ON THE BADGE?
1. Treat everyone with respect. The person you arrested today may save your life tomorrow.
2. Always be honest even if the truth hurts.
3. Do not put your job above your family.
4. Not everyone out there is bad, sometimes good people do bad things.
5. Be patient, take the time to protect yourself, maintain a positive survival attitude.
6. Give thanks everyday for the ability to go home and know that you have helped to make the world a better place.
IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU FEEL THIS WEBSITE CAN BENEFIT THE LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMUNITY?
I hope to see this site utilized as the resource I know it can be for all of our law enforcement brothers and sisters. No one understands a cop like another cop.
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