Mountain Home News
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
By Brian S. Orban
Thirty years after he became a law enforcement
officer, the county's chief deputy sheriff will become Mountain
Home's next chief of police. (Pictured at the left, Mayor Tom Rist
and Chief Nick Schilz)
The 1975 graduate of Mountain Home High School has devoted most of
his life as a public servant. Originally, he served as an emergency
medical technician with the county ambulance service as a volunteer
while he also worked for a local farm.
During those years, he established a rapport with the sheriff's
department that convinced him to eventually seek a career in law
enforcement. While there's a distinct difference between saving
lives as a medic and protecting lives as a law officer, they share
the same goal -- to serve the public, Schilz said.
After serving for about a year as a reserve deputy, former Sheriff
Larry Olsen hired Schilz to a fulltime position with the department
on Sept. 9, 1981. He went on to attend the post academy training in
Boise several months later.
Schilz fondly remembers those first days on the force.
"I was excited; I could feel the thrill and adrenalin. I couldn't
wait to get started," he said.
While many of those early days on the force involved backing up his
fellow deputies, there were other memorable cases that left a
lasting impression in his life.
He vividly recalled one incident where he helped save the life of a
"There was an accident on Highway 30 and 12th Street where a pickup
hit two girls walking on the side of the road," he said. One girl's
arm was trapped beneath the truck's tire while the other was knocked
face-down into a nearby canal.
"I was able to go down and pull that girl out of the water," he
said. Working with another officer, they administered CPR to revive
the girl and saved her life.
"That was definitely an 'up' moment in my life," he said.
Over the years, Schilz worked his way up the ranks and eventually
became a detective with the department. In recent years, Sheriff
Rick Layher named him as the county's second in command.
Over the past three decades, Schilz fostered a positive working
relationship with many of the officers in the city's police
department -- a rapport he feels will benefit both the city and
county. He considers these men and woman "a real professional group
of people who serve the city well."
"I'm very excited about this... to work with them as a team," he
added. "It's going to be a good fit. Their support has been
Schilz hopes his experience with the sheriff's department will help
bring the county and city law enforcement agencies closer together
in the years ahead.
The more both departments can work together and help each other out,
the better things work, he said. "You have each other's back, and
you share information... which helps all around."
In addition, Schilz understands the dynamics of the Mountain Home
community and everything that makes it a great place to live.
"One of the things that still makes it great is that we still have
that small community closeness," he said. "We don't have to worry as
much about our kids growing up (here), so that's a tremendous boost
He emphasized the need for law enforcement agencies to maintain a
constant presence in this community to foster a positive
relationship. This rapport ultimately helps make the city safer, he
"It's important to remain "community minded" and to stay in touch
with different sources in the Mountain Home area, he said. "The
public has a lot of information if you stay in touch with the right
In two weeks, Schilz will celebrate his 30th year with the sheriff's
department -- a milestone that brings with it a bittersweet moment,
"It's a little sad putting 30 years into a career and one
department" and then stepping aside and starting something new, he
The Mountain Home City Council formally accepted Schilz' appointment
as the city's police chief during its Monday meeting. He will assume
his duties Oct. 1.