After more than 40 years, the Bannock County Sheriff is retiring
POCATELLO — After serving more than four decades, Bannock County Sheriff Lorin W. Nielsen announced that he’ll soon be taking off the badge.
Nielsen said at a press conference on Tuesday that he won’t be running for another term. He will remain in office for another year but his name won’t be on the November ballot.
“I think I’m getting a little slower, my creativity needs to be a little sharper,” Nielsen said. “And it’s time. I’d rather go out on a high than I would a low.”
In 1977, Nielsen got married and moved to Pocatello. The following year his career as an Idaho First Responder began. He was sworn in as a deputy sheriff while A. Carl Croft was the sheriff. He served as a deputy sheriff from 1983 until 1989 and was appointed undersheriff by William T. “Bill” Lynn in 1989.
In 1996, Nielsen was elected sheriff and he’s been there ever since.
At 68-years-old, he said he’s currently the longest sitting sheriff for the state of Idaho, and over the years he’s witnessed a lot. He’s learned that people want to be good despite the negative things they’ve done.
“I’ve found that substance abuse and anger management and stuff, are things that can change,” Nielsen said. “I don’t look at a sex offender as an evil person. What they’ve done is evil and I don’t want them in my community. But they can change.”
He said being in law enforcement is a “thrill” because rather than watching and hearing about what’s going on around him, he gets to be part of it.
“For the most part, we get to make a difference,” Nielsen said, adding that having a positive impact in the community is advice he will give to whoever is elected to his seat.
“Make sure when you’re making a difference, you’re doing it honestly and you’re doing it to serve,” Nielsen said. “And don’t be self-serving.”
When he became sheriff, Nielsen’s dad, who has since passed away, gave him two tips that he has held near to his heart. He wants to pass along the same words of wisdom to his successor.
“(My dad said) ‘You say ‘We’ because you’re not doing it by yourself’ and ‘Emails are nice, but a personal conference is a whole lot better than a whole lot of emails,'” Nielsen recalls.
As for what lies ahead for Nielsen, nothing is set in stone but he’s been asked to run for local offices and he is looking into that option.
“If it’s best for me, I’ll do it,” Nielsen said. “If it’s not best for me or the people, then I won’t.”