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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 young girl.

"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 tremendous."

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 for us."

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 said.

"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 sources."

In two weeks, Schilz will celebrate his 30th year with the sheriff's department -- a milestone that brings with it a bittersweet moment, he said.

"It's a little sad putting 30 years into a career and one department" and then stepping aside and starting something new, he said.

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.

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It is the goal of the Mountain Home Police Department to deliver quality and professional service to the members of our community.  In order to do that we need to hear from you.  So please take a moment to tell me how we are doing.  Feel free to leave your comments, recommendations or suggestions.

Thank You, 
Nick Schilz
Chief of Police
Mountain Home P.D.
2775 East 8th North
Mountain Home, ID 83647
Work: 208-587-2101 Ext. 200

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