Chief Nichols attended the University of Hawaii at Hilo and received an associate degree in Criminal Justice. In October of 1987, he attended the Alaska Law Enforcement Training Academy in Sitka, Alaska and began his law enforcement career with the Unalaska Department of Public Safety in January of 1988. In November of1992, Chief Nichols was promoted to patrol sergeant with the department. In May of 2004, he became the Chief of Police of the Yakutat Department of Public Safety.
Chief Nichols has an advance police certificate with the Alaska Police Standard Council. He is a certified instructor in the topics of Domestic Violence, Defensive Driving, and the Taser M26 & X26 courses.