Death of Retired Officer Richard John Nickoloff, I.D. 8035


Officer Richard J. Nickoloff, I.D. 8035 passed away on Thursday, February 3, 2022, at age 78, with his wife Jean of 57 years and daughter Amanda by his side. Rich had endured a long and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.

Officer “Rich” Nickoloff started the California Highway Patrol Academy on July 17, 1972, after completing a 4-year enlistment in the United States Marine Corps which included a combat tour in Vietnam. He received his Honorable discharge as a E-5 Sergeant. He attended Northridge College and received his Associate Degree in English before attending the CHP academy. Upon graduation from the CHP Academy on November 13, 1972, he was assigned to Central Los Angeles.

In 1973, Rich transferred to the West Valley office in Woodland Hills. During his 20 years in the West Valley area, Officer Nickoloff worked as a traffic officer, range officer, taught methods of arrest, and was the physical fitness testing and safety training officer. He also worked on the helicopter unit during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, as the flight navigator with pilot Frank Klotz. Officer Nickoloff’s athletic endeavors led him to compete in multiple Toughest Cops Alive competitions, Baker to Vegas CHP relay, and was a source of knowledge and guidance to his fellow officers. On December 2, 1993, Rich Nickoloff was selected to be an instructor with the CHP Academy’s Weapons Unit in West Sacramento. He taught and trained over 1500 cadets during his assignment. Officer Nickoloff was an exceptional instructor who brought real time experience and humor to his class. He participated in the historical transition of the entire department from revolvers to semi-automatic pistols and justified putting rifles in every patrol car statewide. He helped implement the rifle deployment program and the “Mobile Field Force” civil disturbance response program statewide. Officer Rich Nickoloff earned the title of being the second FBI certified Law Enforcement sniper in the CHP and member to the initial Officer Extraction Unit, which was the precursor to what became the first CHP SWAT team.

After leaving the Academy, Officer Nickoloff transferred to the Gold Run Area office on November 2, 1999, where he remained until he retired February 7, 2003. Rich was well-liked and respected by the community, his supervisors, and his fellow officers. Officer Nickoloff originally retired in Prescott AZ and enjoyed six years there before moving to Colorado, where he would reside for the rest of his retirement. In retirement, Rich never lost his desire to teach and be involved in weapons training. Rich volunteered and assisted with safety and range instruction for a local Colorado police department and continued to enjoy shooting and sharing his knowledge with neighbors and gun enthusiasts alike. Richard Nickoloff is known for putting the safety of others first, sharing insight and perspective with an open mind, being a great teacher, a loving husband, a committed father, faithful friend, a fun, sweet, silly Poppy, and a Marine who hung his American flag at dawn and took it down at dusk. He was a scholar, a romantic, an academic, and a person of many unique interests.

In tribute to Officer Nickoloff’s passing, his entire neighborhood flew their American flags at half-mast the following day. The Marine Corps Honor Guard from CU Boulder ROTC presented the colors and a bugler performed taps as a salute to Officer Nickoloff and in recognition of his love of country, devotion to family, and endless service to his community.

Rich will be remembered for his dedication to the safety of others and for his love and devotion to his wife and family. He is survived by his wife, Jean Nickoloff, and two daughters, Amanda Winchester and Rebecca Isaak, as well as seven grandchildren. Pursuant to Officer Nickoloff’s requests, no additional services are planned. Cards and letters may be forward to:

Nickoloff Family
7740 Spruce Court
Thornton, CO 80602

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