FARMINGTON — “Law enforcement is more of a calling,” said Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols, Sr. “For me, it seemed to be a good fit after I left the military.”

A good fit, indeed. In his 35 years in law enforcement, Nichols has moved through the ranks as a trooper, a chief, and an instructor on his way to being elected sheriff.

Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. Franklin Journal photo by Dee Menear

Nichols, 57, was born and raised in Farmington. He joined the U.S. Army in 1979 after graduating from Mt. Blue High School. After serving three years at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, Nichols returned home and went to work at G.H. Bass in Wilton while serving in the National Guard and Army Reserves.

In 1984, he applied for a Maine State Trooper position. From a pool of 3,000 applicants, Nichols was one of 27 who made the cut. “For the first 10 years, I was on the road with Troop C,” he said. “My very first posting was in Kingfield.”

In 1994, he was promoted to detective of the Criminal Investigative Division 2, what is known today as Major Crimes Unit. Five years later, he was promoted to Sergeant and became a supervisor within the division.

Simultaneously, he was an instructor, and then Cadre Supervisor, at the State Police Academy, which is now the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

In 2000, Nichols earned an associates degree in law enforcement technology at what is now Southern Maine Community College.

Nichols retired from the state police in 2005 and spent time in Iraq as an adviser to the Iraqi National Police. “The purpose was to train the Iraqi police to become a real police force,” he said. “It was impossible because there was a war going on and we were dealing more with terrorist threats.”

“I was hired as Carrabassett Valley Police Chief in 2008 when Ron Moody retired,” he added. “I held that position until 2012 when I was elected sheriff.”

The best career experience is that of being sheriff, he said. “This is one position where you are really connected with the people,” he said. “People contact me every day with their concerns and we are able to address them.”

The worst experience, he said, dealing with the tragic aspects of law enforcement. “Having to tell a loved one someone near and dear to them has been killed is terrible,” he said. “I think anyone in law enforcement will tell you that.”

Then, there is the horror. “I’ve seen horrific crimes against children, sex abuse, homicides…horrible things that are still with me today,” he added. “We learn to deal with them and compartmentalize them but they are always there.”

Nichols said his professional goal is to continue to provide top-notch service to the people of Franklin County and to continue working with legislators to find a permanent funding mechanism for jails.

“This has been a very satisfying position,” he said. “All my other previous experiences prepared me for this role.”

Nichols and his wife, Lorna live in New Sharon. They have two grown children and two grandchildren. They have three dogs, one of which, Krieger, goes to work every day with Nichols.

Nichols enjoys riding motorcycles, instructing firearm safety to the public and building firearms. “My wife and I really enjoy traveling,” he added.

His personal goal? “I am looking forward to retiring comfortably someday,” he said. “Isn’t that everyone’s goal?

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