Leader staff writer
Sherwood Police Chief Kel Nichol-son announced at the Sherwood City Council meeting Monday that he was stepping down, but not going away.
Nicholson, 47, who has had some health issues the past few months and is just now getting back to 100 percent, has been the chief for almost seven years.
Nicholson said he and Capt. Jim Bedwell, 56, who heads the detectives and warrants division, will be switching jobs come Saturday. “It’s just a matter of us changing offices,” he said.
Nicholson, who worked his way up from a patrol officer, said the job of chief was a lot harder than people think.
“I’ve sacrificed time, health and family,” he said, adding that there’s not enough time to do the things the Lord wants him to do.
Nicholson, a 24-year veteran of the Sherwood police force, said he wants to spend more time with his 13-year-old daughter and his wife, and working with middle school students at his church. His wife, Angela, is the city’s clerk and treasurer.
“I love this city, the officers and this department too much to leave it,” he said. Nicholson said he looks forward to the new job and has 100-percent confidence in Bedwell.
Bedwell, 56, a 22-year veteran of the police department, said he was shocked when Nicholson came to him with the idea. “It wasn’t something I had thought about, but it’ll be a great challenge.”
The police chief and all department heads work at the pleasure of the mayor. When Nicholson came to Mayor Virginia Hillman with the swap idea, she thought it would be a good move.
“It’ll be a smooth transition,” she said. “I hate to lose him as chief, but it’s great to keep him as a captain in the department. I have full confidence in Bedwell.”
Bedwell, who also started out as a patrol officer, was patrol captain from 2004 to 2009, before heading up the detective branch. He is married and has one son and two stepchildren.