Crossing guard relieved of duty, guns seized

Korean War-era veteran and former Tisbury cop says actions were taken over misinterpreted conversation.

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Stephen Nichols, 84, said he was fired from his job as a Tisbury crossing guard for an alleged "threat." He says his comments were misinterpreted. - Rich Saltzberg

A Tisbury School crossing guard has been relieved of duty and had his personal firearms confiscated for alleged threats to the Tisbury School overheard by a waitress at Linda Jean’s restaurant in Oak Bluffs. 

Stephen Nichols, 84, of Tisbury, who said his career with the Tisbury Police spanned six decades and who served in the United States Army during the Korean War, told The Times he made no threats to the school, but had criticized its school resource officer in a conversation with a friend. He said the conversation was taken out of context. 

Dan Larkosh, of the Edgartown firm Larkosh and Jackson, represents Nichols, and said he intends to file an appeal of the decision by Tisbury Police Chief Mark Saloio to seize guns owned by Nichols, as well as his license to carry.

Saloio declined to comment when approached at the Tisbury Police Station. He later told The Times, “There’s nothing that I can legally discuss about the matter. Period.” The police department has also refused to release the police report from the investigation citing the “personnel” exemption of the public records law.

No criminal charges were filed against Nichols.

Town administrator Jay Grande wrote in an email that a crossing guard was dismissed. “In response to your inquiry, I want to acknowledge that a crossing guard was removed from active status pending a review of personnel related concerns,” he wrote. “I will not have any further comment on this matter.”

Nichols said he was unimpressed with the Tisbury School resource officer’s alleged trips to Xtra Mart to get coffee when children came to school in the morning. While dining at Linda Jean’s a couple of weeks ago, Nichols said he told a friend about this and suggested somebody could “shoot up the school” in that officer’s absence, which he described as “leaving his post.” 

Nichols said the waitress made a complaint to Tisbury Police about what she overheard and on the strength of that, Saloio and another officer relieved Nichols of his crossing guard duties while he was in the midst of performing them and subsequently drove to his home and took away his firearms license and guns. 

“He came up and told me what I said was a felony but he wasn’t going to charge me,” Nichols said of Saloio. 

The confiscated guns were later turned over to Nichols’ son-in-law, Nichols told The Times.

Asked if he was given a letter or any paperwork for the seizure of his license, Nichols said,

“No he just told me to hand it over so I took it out of my wallet and handed it to him.”

Nichols said he has been licensed for firearms since 1958.

He said he didn’t receive any paperwork or receipts for the seizure of his guns, either. 

In a lengthy interview with The Times, Nichols explained his concern about Tisbury School.

“When I was in the United States Army, and it wasn’t just me, it’s anybody who’s in the United States service, if you are on guard duty for eight hours, you didn’t leave that position,” Nichols said. “And I’m just so accustomed to that, that when I see someone who’s suppose to be protecting kids…leave the school unguarded — if you’re on guard duty, you stay there.”

Tisbury School Principal John Custer told The Times he was familiar with Nichols as a crossing guard but when asked if he knew of the Nichols’ situation, Custer responded by saying crossing guards are “hired, trained and scheduled, entirely by the police department.”

He identified the school resource officer as Scott Ogden. Asked if anyone had complained about Ogden going on coffee breaks, Custer said,  “none whatsoever.”

A message left for Ogden at the Tisbury Police Department was not immediately returned. 

Linda Jean’s owner Marc Hanover said he’s known Nichols for decades and vouched for his integrity. He described the situation as “absolutely outrageous.” He said he believes one of his servers “overreacted.” Hanover said he spoke with the restaurant patron who had conversed with Nichols at the time of the alleged threats.

“He assured me there was never a threat made,” Hanover said.

That patron, Edgartown resident Andy Marcus, described the situation as “absurd.” Marcus confirmed Nichols did not threaten the school but pointed out that Nichols thought Ogden was having coffee at Xtra Mart and leaving the students potentially exposed. Marcus said he has known Nichols for years and often talks with him at the counter of Linda Jean’s. He said nobody at that restaurant but one server holds the opinion Nichols possibly posed a threat to the Tisbury School. Marcus said in addition to being a longtime special police officer, Nichols was a court officer and a constable. 

“He loves kids,” Marcus said. “It’s almost like of all the people…”

Nichols said he’s never been accused of threatening a school and never had a firearms violation. “I’ve got no record of any violations,” he said. 

Nichols said he never carries guns outside the house and would like to have his license and his guns back, but the fate of the guns may be sealed. “My grandson is manager of a gun shop in Worcester, Mass and he’s going to be allowed to come down and take the weapons and sell them for me,” he said. 

Nichols said he has 11 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. “I would never, ever, ever, harm a child,” he said. 

Nichols lost his wife two years ago and values his crossing guard work as a connection to the outside world. “I just need something to do to get out of the house and I love the kids,” he said. 

“We would expect reasonable minds to prevail, and [Nichols] to be reinstated in his job,” Larkosh said. 

 

97 COMMENTS

  1. Everybody loves Stevie! He’s never said an unkind word to anyone. Is anyone keeping track of how many unlawful terminations have occurred under the new TPD Chief? I’ve lost count. This sets the town up for a massive amount of liability. Red Flags.
    I would like to see if this was investigated at all. Is there an internal affairs report available?
    Per MA General Laws, only the appointing authority can terminate an employee of the town, and the appointing authority is the Board of Selectman… so why didn’t they have a hearing to discuss this matter? No due process.
    Lastly, I am baffled as to how the Chief can decide arbitrarily about who gets charged with a felony and who doesn’t? How many citizens have committed felonies and have gotten away with it because the Chief didn’t feel like charging them and filling out the paperwork. I think it’s time the federal government should issue a consent decree and begin management of the TPD.

    • That’s a compromise I can live with, for now. The most important thing now is to call a time-out on this circus, and bring an immediate end to the Tisbury Police Department’s apparently endless spiral of mismanagement.

  2. I just can’t even believe this. Mr Nichols is an upstanding member of the community. Absolutely outrageous that hearsay has gotten taken this far. Shame on that waitress.

  3. This is how Tisbury treats an 84- year old Korean War veteran who has served his country and community, here and abroad. Someone like Mr. Nichols deserves recognition and a retirement party, not being dragged into an office and summarily fired without a proper investigation!
    Tisbury has no soul!!!!!

  4. This is such a terrible situation for this gentleman. Everyday people report unsubstantiated instances to the police departments and it used to be that you were innocent until proven guilty but now it’s your guilty until proven innocent. It’s disgusting really!

  5. I don’t know this man and cannot speak to his character or intentions either way, but I also don’t think it’s fair to come down on the server who reported what she heard. We don’t know exactly was said, or how he said it. Had anything happened, everyone would later be screaming, “Why didn’t you speak up?”, and she would inevitably feel responsible. People are told to report anything they deem dangerous. Maybe she just felt like she didn’t have another choice. It’s hard to judge whether her reaction was overblown without exact quotes.

  6. The Chief, the Board of Selectmen, and the Harbormaster should all get together and congratulate each other on jobs well done. Maybe they can form a support group to help out the Town Administrator next time he gets his feelings hurt at a public meeting about the school. This town is being run into the ground by a group of simpletons. How many lawsuits are really needed? How much more money needs to be wasted?

    • 3FeetTall- one of the most intelligent well written comments i have ever read-i wish i had your way with words Bravo-why do so few people get it or maybe they just don’t care-when all of these lawsuits are paid for , maybe our tax rate will hit 10 dollars per thousand-they just don’t have a clue !

  7. It sounds like an over-reaction by a know nothing server. The article states this war veteran has had a permit to carry since 1958. That in itself demonstrates his responsibility. Just another “Typical Tisbury ” story. Just when I hoped the TPD was heading in the right direction. He should appeal this to the district court, as he is allowed to in order to get his guns back and license to carry.

      • Do you have any facts to support that ridiculous statement? Or did you mean ‘higher risk’ of being able to defend himself from some thug or criminal? There is ample history of legally armed civilians defending themselves. If exercising his right responsibility for 61 years isn’t sufficient evidence, you are just another anti 2nd amendment type. If you don’t want a gun don’t get one. Leave law abiding citizens alone.

      • Out of curiosity what facts do you have to back that up? I’m assuming only your feelings, because studies have been done and have shown the violent crime rate for concealed carry permit holders have a lower violent crime rate then the police do. Firearm ownership has gone up over the past few decades yet violent crime rate and murder has gone down. If what you say is true, the inverse would have occurred during that time. Here is one of those studies, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2814691, there have been more. Including the DOJ statistics, related to crime rates going down. and the CDC who has stated suggested the number of defensive use of a firearm, by those who own them, could be as little as 500,000 times a year to as much as 3 million.

        The only mistake this man made was making his concerns in a public place where an individual like yourself would overreact. He should have reported the school officer to the principle, to the Police chief, to the mayors office, to the news paper.

        Owning a firearm doesn’t put him in a higher risk category in anyone’s minds but the uninformed.

      • Why? Being given a permit to carry by the chief of your town means he has undergone serious scrutiny. You are correct, he should be in a different category, but it should be one of less suspicion than the average citizen. But hey, let’s ruin this guy’s life, because, well …. what if. Let’s just keep sticking fingers in every “what if” hole in the dam and maybe one day it will stop leaking. Doubt it, though.

        • @notnewhere @ConcernedCitizen @stbg

          I think you misinterpreted Vanadium’s statement. Pretty sure it was tongue-in-cheek pointing out that people consider war veterans, police officers, and LTC holders as a greater threat that the average person because of sheer stupidity.

          @Vanadium, I actually like your wording. The fact he exercises his rights makes him a threat in some people’s eyes.

      • @Vanadium Nonsense. Multiple studies show clearly that persons with carry permits have significantly LOWER incidence of criminality, not higher. Their risk is LOWER, not only than the general populace, but even of LAW ENFORCEMENT.

        I think you need to study more than the talking points of the Demanding Mommies. Try Gun Facts: http://www.gunfacts.info/gun-control-myths/concealed-carry/ This is a page that addresses your issue regarding “increased risk”. Their assessment? That your claim is utterly specious.

  8. So if someone notes that a police officer leaves his post, leaving the school vulnerable that somehow that is a crime ? It seems to me that he should be protected and honored as a whistle blower.
    And this on an “overheard” private conversation.
    I am about as liberal as you can get, but this is liberal Bull —– run amok,
    Stuff like this gives the trump supporters a leg to stand on about political correctness and the overreach of liberalism.
    The police chief should have thanked her for concerns, and left it at that.
    What’s the threat except to the ego of the chief to have someone privately criticize the security arrangements of the school ?

    • Yes, he should have thanked her for her concern and then checked it out. Including what Steve was upset about which was the resource officer leaving school to get coffee.

  9. Well you dont want to know what I think about cops in schools so Ill be quiet. But someone who thinks a school will be in danger because one is on a coffee break is ludicrous.

  10. The real story here of course is did or didn’t the resource officer leave the school to get coffee while he was working. I’m assuming Xtramart has cameras and his visits to the store could be confirmed. Tisbury parents, with everything else going on, don’t you want to know if the resource officer paid to make sure your kids are safe is at the school or downtown getting coffee?
    It’s not fair to drag on the server who reported hat she heard. In these times we are told by law enforcement that if you see something say something. That’s what she did. It was up to the Tisbury PD to handle it correctly.

  11. I understand that the server probably overheard shoot up the school, but I can’t believe there wasn’t a private interview and investigation first.

      • Vanadium, I’m assuming, based on a few of your other comments that you are part of the TPD. You are the only one saying that the police handled this correctly. My question to you is that you said “Vanadium
        October 12, 2019 at 5:51 pm
        On some occasions, procedure dictates the events that follow due to the plausible urgency of the matter.”
        What was plausible about this situation?
        Plausible means that you found the threat credible. Did you talk with the man? Was there an interview conducted that threw up red flags? What was the PLAUSIBLE threat? Part of the definition of plausible means belief. What did you find believable about the threat? (There was no threat) And on some small chance that you are not the officer in question, what do you personally believe was believable that this man would do what the waitress thought she heard?

      • That is true, and then reality must be announced as loudly as the accusation. Why does this article sit in the paper with no updates as if, to a casual observer of the headline, this man actually did utter horrific threats about the school? Why no statement from the police?

    • Boy are you good- i’ve been working on this all day all think that your little clue “Six Degrees of Separation” that i have figured it out-we’ll see what Sunday brings after a couple of subtle questions to the right people-

  12. As a matter of public record, is the police department who just summarily fired Stephen Nichols , the same one associated with driving home an inebriated law enforcement officer, who had “mistakenly entered” the incorrect home at 3am, subsequently depositing his birthday meal on the surprised residents floor?
    If so, then it all makes sense to me now.

    • James– thanks for reminding us of that incident– fortunately the officer only threw up, and did not shoot the surprised homeowner.

      • You are quite welcome. You also made some excellent points. The LEO was also fortunate not to be shot by the homeowners as an intruder.
        However, back to Mr. Nichols,… the reminding of that earlier incident serves as a clear point that despite a change in Police chief, nothing has changed at the TPD. The culture continues to be inconsistent with prevailing laws. They simply cannot learn their lessons.
        Since then and now, there is yet another lawsuit filed against the taxpayers wallets. Ho hum,… I smell another one in the air. from Larkosh (excellent choice of lawyer, btw)
        I believe Mr. Nichols is going to regain his reputation long before the TPD ever regains their credibility. The latter has been gone long before the TJ Sylvia fiasco and doesn’t seem likely to return any time soon.

  13. I don’t want the school resource officer leaving for any reason, but I also don’t want anyone guarding my kids who thinks it’s acceptable to drink Xtra mart coffee.

  14. Im an uber-liberal, and even I think this is over the top nonsensical. How about an investigation to determine the facts before delivering punishment? Geez. What the heck is going on in Tisbury?

  15. I wasn’t there to witness this conversation, but Steve Nichols is the last person I would ever think of as a threat to public safety.

  16. Absolutely unbelievable!! We have known Mr. Nichols our entire life. Mr. Nichols is an amazing man. He has protected his country, his community, his family and has been a father to all of us who grew up here. He is one of the men we all knew we could go to if we needed help or advice.
    I can not believe what I am reading. Nor will I ever believe this! Not ever in this lifetime will I ever believe any of this accusation to be true! Mr. Nichols is a very loving man who would never hurt a child or their school or any one for that matter. This incident of judge and jury by a waitress has just taken the best man away from the Tisbury students. Parents and children will be outraged. The community will back Mr. Nichols. And I eat at that establishment with my family many times a week and I for one will not go back. Shame on this community if a single person believes any of what Mr. Nichols has been accused of. What has happened here is heartbreaking for our community. As for his Department in Tisbury where Mr. Nichols was a valued police officer for so many years just add another law suit to your laundry list, not at all surprised at the mishandling of this matter. We love you Mr. Nichols! Behind you 100%. Thank you Steve for your years of dedication to our community you deserve a badge of honor.

    • I don’t think anybody believes Steve would harm anyone. I think it’s a mistake to blame the server. She reported something she heard. She told law enforcement which is what you are supposed to do. How it was handled and what Steve was upset about are the real issues.

    • I don’t see the point in boycotting LJ’s. The waitress did what she thought was the right thing at the time, based on what info she had to go on. Sounds like the police took it too far rather than interviewing everyone involved and getting the facts straight. It’s not the restaurant’s fault, in any event. If we stop eating at certain places just because they get caught up in a public issue, we will eventually put innocent people out of work. The staff at LJ’s works hard and shouldn’t suffer because of this situation. It’s hard enough to keep everyone employed this time of year.

  17. Absolutely unacceptable what Tisbury has done to this man. Steve is one of, if not the finest resident of his town. He has served and protected all of us in one form or another for decades. For him to be treated like this is humiliating for the entire town. I am embarrassed that the town I grew up in is willing to treat Mr. Nichols like a street thug. The tisbury police department and town administrators should be ashamed of their actions in this matter. I trust this man to protect the people of this town and we should all strive to be like him. He is the type of person out children need to learn from.
    Tisbury PD needs to make a public apology for the classless treatment of a hero. The town trusted him in the past to walk these streets with a loaded gun doing the same job you are doing and i’d still like to see him out there doing that same job again. You could learn something from this man. Instead you humiliated him. Thank you for your service Steve, you are the best.

  18. I adored this crossing-guard when my children and I used to walk to the Tisbury School.
    Stripping him of his duty and his gun license was ridiculous, and doing it during his shift was cruel and humiliating.

  19. Steve is one of the best. I looked up to him during my career as a cop. Still, do. Keep the faith Steve.

    • Paul, as someone who is a well qualified observer and who carries a very credible reputation for reasonable decisions, what the hell went wrong here?
      Any possibility of coming out of retirement to assume command of the TPD?

  20. This is what happens with “Red Flag Laws” .. all it takes is a baseless allegation to ruin a person’s reputation and violate their rights.

  21. Everyone wants to throw darts… but if something had actually happened than there would be an outcry to the PD for failure to take action. As a Tisbury School parent, I feel that in the present mass shooting environment, better safe than sorry…

    • Honestly let’s see what happens when the whole story comes out because there’s is more to this”whistle blower”then just concerned citizen. Hint hint

    • What would peoples response be if something would have happened at the school and the schools resource officer was offsite getting coffee?

  22. My name is Adam Nichols I am one of the 11 grandchildren my Pa is speaking of. I also served in the United states Army. My Pa nailed it with the not leaving your post for any reason until properly relieved by a replacement guard. These officers ,I dont care who it is, should be trained in such a way. The problem is many police officers become officers because of there names and who they know, they never served in the military were these types of protocols are drilled into you. That cop should not be leaving that school for any reason unless relieved by another trained cop…period end of story! As for the waitress I understand her “blowing the whistle” and making the call especially her not knowing my grandfather personally, if she did it she would not have taken what he was saying as a threat to the school. It would have been Steve is venting. And by the way give my Pa his license and guns back, put him back on duty at the crosswalk, let him carry, and I guarantee to you that if someone ever tried to shoot up that school, my grandfather would be a better option to save lives then most cops in that town. I’ve been to Iraq and recieved a purple heart do to being shot by a sniper, and I’ve seen first hand, you learn who the brave are when the bullets start flying. My Pa will stand his ground for those students even if it meant giving up his life.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful, fair comment and for understanding why the waitress reported it. I totally agree that the officer should not be leaving his post unattended for any reason and can see why this upset your grandfather. I hope the town will investigate that end of it and make things right for Mr. Nichols, now that everyone has been set straight on the context of his words. The police should’ve handled this differently.

    • Nicely said Adam, I’ve met your Pa a few times and thought what a wonderful caring man. I hope the town realizes the mistake the TPD made and fixes it.

    • For as long as I remember your grandfather has been nothing but the most conscientious of police officers. His concerns are valid and everyone needs to remember that Martha’s Vineyard lacks sufficient mental health care facilities to deal with adults, let alone young adults and children in crisis with access to firearms. Had he brought his concerns to the Police Chief they most likely would have been disregarded and he would have been ousted anyway… This route has exposed issues (Xtra Mart has cameras BTW but being right won’t change the outcome) and hopefully safety concerns at the school will be addressed. “It shouldn’t have happened here” is a sad refrain. Being penalized for taking your job seriously and expressing concerns in a private conversation is a lesson for us all – next time just email the Times Tipline and let the chips fall where they may.

    • Adam, Thank you for positing and as you can see there is great support for grandfather from the island. If there is a way to donate to his legal costs, please make it known.

    • Rosie, that is how these folks roll they try to sensationalize and you know the bias of them..
      That should answer your question!

  23. Although I do agree Mr. Nichols should not have been fired, a lot of you do not understand the school resource officers schedule or why he is not at the school all day. Per the school resource officers contract he is only scheduled to be at the school from 11am-3pm. Being at the school in the morning for crossing and student arrivals is done as a courtesy. The school pays for an officer to be at the school for 4 hours a day. Officer Ogden did not “abandon his post” to go get coffee. But again people that have never worked the job or have any idea the officers schedule think they know best.

    • Im sure that it is the case, with there contract as school resource officers
      Not disputing that. The point is he should be there start to finish otherwise what’s the point. A person planning a tragic incident like a school shooting will study the patterns of a guard. And then know the best time to go in. Here in the real world I mean the main land, a cop is there all day. I don’t know everything or know best as you put it, but I do know 3 or 4 hours of no protection is bad policing. These are the points and concerns my grandfather has.

  24. I keep revisiting this article, hoping every time to see a little green “Updated” header… followed by news of Mr Nichols’ prompt reinstatement and return of his firearms. As comments here and on social media clearly indicate, an overwhelming majority wants this travesty corrected asap. Unless there’s something that’s not been reported, Mr Nichols is not guilty of any wrongdoing whatsoever… in fact, to the contrary, he was just being the same sworn protector of law & order that he’s always been, for which there should only be praise… evidently, most everyone is keenly aware of that, and thankful to Mr Nichols for his lifetime of service and decency. After the Board intervenes and corrects this bungle, the next discussion should be about the best way for Tisbury to honor this fine gentleman… I think a nicely engraved Colt would be appropriate.

  25. We are stunned, APPALLED, at this egregious and unacceptable violation of Mr. Nichols’ civil rights. Whose community IS THIS?! The people who make lives here, working, raising families? Or the unelected apparatchiks of the corporate overlords of our ‘town government’?

    The Tisbury Police Department is a source of shame for our town, and, frequently, outrage. Let us ask what, exactly, does Officer Ogden DO, when he IS at his post as ‘school resource officer’, and how much does it costs us? And… Is it worth it? At least Oak Bluffs’ ‘school resource officer’ stays on-premises during her shifts, even if it’s only doing crossword puzzles in the front office all day. Their mission is to serve as jackbooted social workers, more concerned with the rights of illegal aliens, and the ‘pillars of the community’ that profit from their black market labor & human-trafficking ties, and to provide welfare for whatever garbage flunks out of the other island towns’ police departments, whether they shot up turkeys in Chilmark, stalked & creeped out the girls in Aquinnah, or were cut loose as unnecessary by the District Court (She’s beyond incompetent; She’s a disaster & LIABLITY waiting to happen). And the players behind the scenes are jockeying for position to lead this fraud into the future.

    For more than a decade, the Tisbury Police Department has been a buzzing hive of palace intrigue, backstabbing, trampling of our civil liberties, inexcusable behavior, and the attendant expensive settlements for all of the above, ON TOP of what the taxpayers are being soaked to pay these clowns.

    When Chief Saloio’s contract is up, he should be thanked for his service, & bid farewell. And the seat should go unfilled (Sorry, Max), the Department should be eliminated, and we should, at last, take advantage of our unique opportunity to lead the nation in experimenting with REGIONALIZING local police.

    You WILL restore Mr. Nichols’ property, and you WILL honor our Constitutional RIGHTS. Got it?

  26. This direct quote from Selectman Tristan Israel’s final interview with the MVTimes should have been a hint to all of us: “ I’m really hopeful with the new police chief, and I feel good about that. It’s one of the things that’s enabling me, at least in my own head, to move on. I think he’s going to be different.” Looks like it’s business as usual at the TPD…same game, different players, hard working, dedicated islanders losing jobs and tax payers footing the bill. Maybe tisbury will pay for two chief’s and two town administrators this time!

  27. I most definitely can understand the concern with the state of our world and mass shootings. But as parents of children in that school shouldn’t it concern you more that the resource officer assigned to patrol and protect that school,leaves his post for extended periods of time?! For his morning coffee?!
    Btw……I’m #2 of the 11 grandchildren. My Pas only point to that convo was to make that point. While hes out buying coffee and socializing,if anything God forbid, were to happen, the school is left completely unprotected. That’s a much bigger issue than a person’s opinion overheard

  28. I mean, the man has a point. So the real story should be… what is the Town of Tisbury doing to protect the students during this vulnerable coffee break? … Now that the MVTimes has publicly exposed the Tisbury School police officer’s morning routine away from his post. Is the police officer’s whereabouts while on duty being looked into?

  29. Hey. Too many children are being killed by active shooters in our nation. It’s an epidemic that only a minority of the citizenry are taking it seriously.

    If someone mouths off about shooting up a school, I want to hear about it. I don’t care the age or demographic of the person. We should know.

    The police handled this appropriately.

    • 100% agree that to many children are being killed by active shooters in our nation. Yet your concern is that a concerned citizen who worries about the children was overheard having a conversation that I assume was taken out of context, but someone not involved in the actual conversation. Yet, you have not concerns, or at least have yet to voice them here, that the individual who is suppose to be on the clock working, takes breaks and leaves his post to get coffee…… Seems your letting your emotions lead you. Should Mr. Nichols have been interviewed absolutely, no one is saying or should be saying no to that question. But at the end of the day logic and reason need to be used. One sentence of an entire conversation should not be used to judge someone. Context matters.

    • While I will agree that ANY number of children killed by ANYONE is “too many”, the assumption that there’s some sort of “epidemic” of school shootings is simply anti-rights propaganda. School shootings are RARE, and in states that have right-to-carry laws they are even RARER.

      The kneejerk reaction of “someone said something, omfg he’s going to kill all the children, quick, call the police, call the army, call Batman” is, as you say, nothing but letting your emotions run away with you. Especially when the ENTIRE comment was not overheard, only a fragment. Unless you hear the context of “shoot up the school”, you shouldn’t immediately assume that the person saying it intends to actually DO it.

      If the town’s well-known nutter says it, then you may have a reason to go to red alert. But when it’s the town’s well-known and beloved veteran and crossing guard for DECADES, who has not only never been a threat but has been nothing but an asset, perhaps there may be good reason to take an extra moment or two, take a deep breath, maybe count ten rutabagas, and perhaps listen a little more to see what was actually meant before running around like Henny Penny on crack.

      Again, Gun Facts is your friend: http://www.gunfacts.info/gun-control-myths/children-and-guns/

  30. This is disgusting! There is an old adage which says, “What’s done is done”, and that applies here. However – what comes next is so very important, and what comes next should come immediately!

    First, the gentleman’s License to Carry Firearms should be returned to him without any delay at all, and with a public apology. Second, also without any delay at all, his firearms should be returned to him, along with financial restitution in toto for any and all expenses he or his relatives incurred. Third, if he still desires to serve his community as a Crossing Guard, he should be publicly welcomed back. And, finally, if an impartial investigation by competent authority reveals that his statement was correct and precise, the so-called “school resource officer” should be dismissed, again without any delay.

    Compliments to the MV Times for airing this issue.

    • 100%. Well stated and absolutely true. The damage done to his honor and integrity probably hurt him more than anything. Sounds like the community there will be standing with him and hopefully demand immediate resolve.

  31. There is one particular sentence that really jumps out , the one that says that at 84 years old, he loves his crossing guard job, as it is something that gets him out of the house and feels connected to community. People! Is there anyone on the Island that takes note of this? An individual, an honored veteran, longtime serving our nation and community, and 84 years old, Can anyone find him something where he can feel valued? and part of the community? To strip this elder of his job in the manner, without due process, is commiting him to a path of isolation. The winters here are long enough, we need our elders to be out in the community, and our children learning from their heritage, and learning that we honor our elders and all they have given to us. The rest of this story is shameful in the fact that there is no due process attached to this at all? I am hoping laws prevail and judgements, if that’s what they were, are evaluated properly.

  32. Scary times we live in. The waitress did right, the failure comes directly from the police chief as I see it then the ball was rolling such that others had to follow suit. A proper investigation would have ended this quietly in short order it seems and at this point should be first priority. Time to make it right. Red flag laws are understandable in these times and are a good defense against terrible things but due process can not and must not be ignored. Give the man his honor back and he is owed an apology. Thank you sir and your family members for their service. 👍🇺🇸

    • No, everyone dropped the ball. The waitress would have been right if she’d heard the entire thing, and the context was something like “I tell you, Irving, I can’t stand the creatures, they drive me mad…I’m going to tomorrow morning!”, then by all means, call that in. But when you only hear a portion of what was said, you’re simply engaging in a game of Russian Telephone, not doing anything actually useful.

      Then there was the ball dropped by the police. They hear “shoot” and “school” and go into Rambo-mode. They automatically assume that the person being blythely tattled on is a raging psycho ready to pounce, and jump immediately to proactive — and probably illegal — action, circumventing multiple statutes and Constitutional protections, to leap in and take those ebil, ebil gunzah away from the 84 year old combat veteran and crossing guard who has never before shown any signs of being some sort of slavering maniac.

      Instead, you do an actual investigation, gathering information, such as maybe talking to the person the suspected maniac was discussing this with, or, I don’t know, asking said supposed maniac what he was talking about? Zero tolerance does not have to equal zero THOUGHT, after all.

      From what I gather, the issue at hand is whether or not the school resource officer should be haring off to get coffee off school grounds. Isn’t there a coffee pot he can access IN the school? Maybe a $20 Mr. Coffee and some supplies might be a better solution than leaping to assume a long-beloved asset to the community has somehow snapped his cap?

      You’re right, a proper investigation should have been done, and these red flag laws are dubious at best, given their nature, violative of SEVERAL Constitutional rights as they are.

      Give the man back his guns, his permit, and his job. And maybe buy the resource officer a coffee maker and ask him to stick around the school when the kids are present? After all, when is some nutter going to actually strike? When the resource officer is there, or when he’s off getting coffee somewhere off campus? Seems to me the latter would be the more advantageous time. So maybe provide the resource officer with coffee AT THE SCHOOL?

  33. I think the blame lies on the new Tisbury Chief. A simple interview with Mr. Nichols would have validated he was actually trying to provide a safety tip for our kids. I think the Chief should be reviewed, not Mr. Nichols.

  34. What are the school children now going to think about this kind man after seeing him removed by 2 police officers while he was performing his crossing duties? Was that really necessary? I mean, stand there and make sure he doesn’t pull an AK47 out of his pocket, but, jeez, don’t take him away in front of the kids. They will never look at him the same way again.

    • This is what I don’t understand. If the Waitress thought she heard a threat to the Tisbury School Children. Why wasn’t the Oak Bluffs police force called to the restaurant immediately? The restaurant is located in oak bluffs, the waitress felt concern when? Right when she heard it or just prior to Mr. Nichols going to his post as crossing guard? There is a piece of this puzzle missing because if a threat was heard wouldn’t that mean an immediate action to stop such a threat and that means that the oak bluffs police would have been at the restaurant to question Mr. Nichols. Why were they not involved? Interviewed? When did this treat report get turned in? Immediately? An hour later letting the person who allegedly making the treat leave? I mean this man got all the way to his post at that school. Doesn’t anyone else find it odd that a terribly concerned citizen reported a school threat and the man was AT THE SCHOOL to work? How long did it take to report this treat?

      • Good point, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if this one gets spun as ‘mutual aid’, where officers from another town’s police department may respond a request for assistance from the other towns. Go to your town’s PD- They should have the big binder of all the calls, incidents, accidents, responses, responders, & resolutions listed as public record (I’d love to see MV Times publish THAT, even if online-only). Check out some of the addresses. See other island towns?
        They’re ALREADY cooperating, so REMEMBER that when Chicken Little lairds of these very lucrative little po-fiefdoms tell you the CAN’T Regionalize!! It’s time. Improvement through Attrition. Let’s try it.

  35. I think the new Chief thought he had a chance to make a heroic name for himself and he totally BLEW it!
    Another mess in the VHPD. The Chief has got to go, the selectmen need to fire him, the selectmen need to get a public scolding and now we have to give Mr Wassernan another call.
    We have the worst leadership on the island within our police department!
    Enough is Enough! I repeat, Enough is Enough!

    • I agree with everything you say, except, the Wassermans have been involved with every chief hiring for the past three decades!!!! Maybe we can agree on someone new, perhaps the group Edgartown used. Cheaper (Wasserman) doesn’t mean better.

  36. Just weighing in here….
    Mr. Nichols is a wonderful man, and most assuredly does not deserve this treatment. The actions of the new ‘chief’ and town administrator are reprehensible and idiotic to say the least. This is round two for them in regard to wrongful terminations, one would think the chief had learned something staring down the barrel of a federal lawsuit, alas he seems to be learning slowly. The selectmen would be wise to learn the term ‘negligent retention’ and perhaps return the chief and administrator whence they came!
    Two thumbs up for Mr. Nichols!

  37. 84 year old man should have learned years ago not to grouse at a public place like Linda Jean’s. If he was concerned about “leaving a post” he should also have respect for the “chain of command”. Linda Jean’s isn’t in the chain of command. I would have hoped in his 84 years he would have learned to talk to the officer directly with his concerns, or his supervisor, or even the Chief. The faux outrage in VH is silly. You have far more serious issues as a town to take your rages out on.

  38. Absolutely appalling behavior from TPD. I can understand the waitresses actions, but the PD couldn’t even afford Mr. Nichols the dignity of an interview? No due process? I had been giving the new chief the benefit of the doubt since he was hired, but given Mr. Nichols lifelong service record and sparkling reputation around town, it seems like he should’ve at least been afforded the courtesy and dignity of a conversation with police instead being degraded, disarmed, and cast aside as a second class citizen. There is absolutely no excuse for how this American hero has been treated.

  39. I understand that the resource officer’s hours were posted in his defense, but now everyone knows when he is and isn’t on duty.

  40. … Remember this, when the actual TRUTH comes out about the exact actual events which it will shortly you will see what is posted here in the Fake News MV Times is nothing but Fake News again and is full of errors in their reporting again…

  41. Something is very wrong here.Would Mr.Nichols and his eating partner be willing to take a lie detector test?The article leads me to feel that Mr.Nichols needs to be believed.There are none so blind as those who will not see.

  42. Not too late to fix the situation. Get Mr. Nicholas back and make sure the school officer stays in the school at all times children are present.

  43. Ah, the Communistwealth of Massachusetts strikes again. So glad I don’t live there anymore!
    I’m reading this article and I’m thinking this is like neighbors reporting their neighbors to the Gestapo or the KGB, or maybe this is a chapter out of 1984. Is this really in America?
    Presumably these law enforcement officers and City officials swore an oath to the United States Constitution when they took office, but have they even read the Constitution? How about freedom of speech, or the part about a citizen’s right to unreasonable seizure of property without warrants supported by an oath or affirmation, or not being deprived of private property without the due process of law, or no anonymous witnesses and being informed of the cause of the accusation, and of course the biggest one that Massachusetts has forgotten–the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed! Period.
    God bless our veterans. I hope he sues the crap out of everyone involved and wins.
    You people would lose your frigin’ minds where I live (NC) where people casually walk around town with a gun on their hip or concealed (male & female, black & white…it doesn’t matter). Especially now it’s hunting season with people driving around with rifles in their back windows.

  44. This is great that Stevie got reinstated. What’s also great is the turtleboy sports article on this! Check out turtleboy and your head will spin.

  45. This guy has done more for our country than most of us will do in a lifetime. The biggest failure is from local police. They should have taken a report from the waitress and talked to the two men that were parties to the conversation. Once realizing there was no threat, they could address the lazy resource officer and fix that problem. Instead, they violate the hell out of Stevie’s 2nd Amendment rights and completely disrespect a veteran of the army and THEIR OWN POLICE FORCE???. The Tisbury Police Department should write a formal apology and publish it in the paper. Everyone in town should thank this man for his service every time they see him. These matters require diligent investigations and quick due process.

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