January 3, 2013

Franklin County commissioners OK sheriff's plan to add officer


FARMINGTON -- New Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols is adding another supervisor to his department and forming an advisory committee of fire and police departments in the county.

Nichols, who was sworn in Sunday, presented his plans to county commissioners Wednesday. The commissioners approved the plans by a vote of 3-0.

The new supervisor, a patrol lieutenant, will oversee patrol operations and officers. The patrol lieutenant will report to Chief Deputy Steve Lowell and Nichols, and will be a news media contact for questions about patrol operations.

Nichols said the change "will him let concentrate on patrol functions so we can concentrate on overall big picture."

The salaried, nonunion position will pay between $34,800 and $43,800 annually, depending on years of experience with the county.

Nichols said creating the patrol lieutenant position was one of the proposed changes he spoke about during last year's election campaign.

County Clerk Julie Magoon said the department will have enough money for the position. The department will not be filling a second secretary's position and did not need to find money to hire a new chief deputy because Lowell was hired from inside the department.

The new position will be posted at the sheriff's department for 10 days. Magoon said the county expects someone in the department will fill the job.

Nichols also plans to form an advisory committee to get feedback from other departments about the way the Franklin County Dispatch Center is run. He said he has heard concerns and complaints about how effective the center communicates with other departments in the county.

Nichols said he would be the committee's chairman and would give all fire and police departments, along with North Star Ambulance, the opportunity to volunteer representatives to meet with him and discuss communication issues between the departments.

He said he does not expect every group to send a representative, but he thinks it will be a good opportunity for departments with concerns to be heard.

"If they want a voice, I think they will make arrangements to be there," he said.

Commissioners asked Nichols to continue planning the advisory committee and present the details of his plans to the board when they are more developed.

Kaitlin Schroeder -- 861-9252


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