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SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. – The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office (SLOCSO) announced the promotion of commander Chad Nicholson to Undersheriff Friday.

Below is a press release on the transition from the SLOCSO:

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to announce the upcoming promotion of Commander Chad Nicholson to the position of Undersheriff. This promotion follows the announcement of Undersheriff Jim Voge’s retirement, set for this summer. Undersheriff Voge, who has been a pivotal figure in the Sheriff’s Office, will be greatly missed by his colleagues and the community.

Undersheriff Voge has served as the third Undersheriff since Sheriff Ian Parkinson took office in 2011. Reflecting on his tenure, Sheriff Parkinson said, “All my Undersheriffs have done an amazing job. Undersheriffs Basti and Olivas both did outstanding work for me and the Sheriff’s Office. Undersheriff Voge holds a special place with me because he was the first person I hired after I assumed office. He started the Professional Standards Unit and implemented many policies and procedures that have benefited all of us. He has mentored many people along the way, and he will be missed by many, including me.”

During his tenure, Undersheriff Voge spearheaded numerous initiatives, including the modernization of our Professional Standards Unit, enhancing accountability and efficiency within the department. His efforts in policy development and mentorship have left a lasting legacy that continues to benefit our deputies and the community.

Selecting a new Undersheriff is a challenging task. After careful consideration of many outstanding candidates, Sheriff Parkinson has chosen Commander Chad Nicholson as the next Undersheriff, with the promotion taking effect in August. “I decided that I want my next Undersheriff to have a long runway and be around for a long time,” said Sheriff Parkinson. “I focused on a replacement that would add stability.”

Commander Chad Nicholson is a sixth-generation resident of San Luis Obispo County, with his family first settling in the area in the late 1800s near San Simeon. He is a graduate of Morro Bay High School and obtained a bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly State University.

Nicholson attended the Alan Hancock Law Enforcement Academy in 2011, where he graduated as valedictorian of his class and was subsequently hired by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office. As a Deputy Sheriff, Nicholson worked as a patrol deputy at all substations in the county and worked inside the Superior Court as a bailiff.

Upon being promoted to Senior Deputy, Nicholson served as a field training officer tasked with training new hire deputies on patrol. In 2015, Nicholson was assigned to the Detective Division as a Major Crimes Detective.

In 2017, Nicholson was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. He worked as a patrol watch commander and patrol supervisor before being selected to supervise the Sheriff’s Major Crimes and Special Victims units within the Detective Division. During Nicholson’s tenure as Detective Sergeant, he supervised the Kristin Smart case to its conclusion, which included the arrest and successful prosecution of Paul Flores. Nicholson also supervised and managed numerous officer-involved shooting investigations and major critical incidents within San Luis Obispo County.

In 2021, Nicholson was promoted to the rank of Commander and assigned to the Professional Standards Unit, where he conducted all administrative investigations for the Sheriff’s Office and oversaw the department’s training program for both patrol and custody personnel.

In 2023, Nicholson was assigned back to the Detective Division, this time as the Division Commander, where he oversaw all investigative units within the division. These units include the Major Crimes Unit, Special Victims Unit, Gang Task Force, Narcotics Unit, Coroners Unit, Cannabis Compliance Team, Crime Lab, and Cyber Lab.

Nicholson has been an operator, supervisor, and commander of the department’s Special Enforcement Detail (SED).

During his tenure with the Sheriff’s Office, Nicholson has been involved in numerous major projects. One notable achievement was proactively seeking federal grant funding to purchase body-worn cameras for all patrol personnel. Nicholson strongly believed in the need for body-worn cameras to aid in transparency, best evidence, and criminal prosecution.

In addition to his extensive law enforcement experience, Commander Nicholson has made significant contributions to community engagement. He is the President of the Sheriff’s Rodeo and was instrumental in developing the event, which has become a beloved tradition in our community. His leadership and vision have helped create an event that fosters positive relationships between law enforcement and the public.

“I am honored and excited to take on the role of Undersheriff,” said Commander Nicholson. “I look forward to continuing the great work of Undersheriff Voge, who has been a huge mentor in my law enforcement career. I look forward to furthering our commitment to professionalism, transparency, community engagement, and excellence in law enforcement. I would like to thank Sheriff Parkinson for the opportunity to serve as his Undersheriff. He is an outstanding leader and truly cares about his staff and all constituents of this great county.”

“Commander Nicholson will be a great addition to the executive team. Please join me in welcoming the new Undersheriff this summer,” said Sheriff Parkinson. “We are confident that his leadership will strengthen our department and enhance our service to the community.”

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office

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