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Nichols Promoted to Assistant Police Chief

The Capitol Police Department’s search for a new No. 2 ended Friday when Chief Phillip Morse announced that Inspector Dan Nichols has been tapped to serve as the force’s assistant chief.

“Inspector Nichols is recognized as an accomplished leader who builds effective teams, has strong communications skills, and uses innovative approaches to improve” the security of the Capitol, Morse stated a release issued Friday. “He also works to develop the skills and capabilities of the Department’s personnel and was a key proponent of sending managers and officers to the Police Executive Leadership Program,” a training initiative for upper-level officers.

It was rumored that Nichols might be in line for the assistant chief post back in early December when the search process began just days after Morse took over the department. Nichols replaces acting Assistant Chief Larry Thompson, who in November was beaten out by Morse in the search for the department’s top cop.

Nichols, 44, is a department veteran who served most recently as an inspector leading the Capitol and House divisions. The Maryland native joined the force in 1983, first serving in patrol posts in and around the Capitol. In 1986 he was named the department’s first public information officer. In 16 years at that post he became the Capitol Police’s public face through such high-profile incidents as the 1998 shootings at the Capitol, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the 2001 anthrax attacks on Capitol Hill. He left the PIO post in 2002 when he was promoted to lieutenant in charge of the department’s K-9 unit.

“I think the world of Dan Nichols,” said Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer, who serves as chairman of the Capitol Police Board, which oversees the department. Gainer, who served as chief of the department before Morse, said that Nichols “was the PIO when I took over the job, and I knew what Dan needed was field time, and I quickly sent him out to the field and he developed into a fine field commander. I think Phil made a good choice and Dan will be an outstanding No. 2. I couldn’t be happier with the decision.”

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