Nix takes command at North Coast sheriff’s station

San Luis Obispo - The TribuneOctober 17, 2013 

Cmdr. Aaron Nix has worked in all other areas of the county; now he gets a chance to head the Coast Division. Last month, he talked about problems ranging from panga boats and trespassers to door-to-door salespeople.


Cmdr. Aaron Nix has brought his more than two decades of law-enforcement experience to the helm of the county Sheriff’s Office Coast Station in Los Osos.

Nix joined the county force in 1997 and in the interim had worked in all the other areas of the department except the Coast Division, he told the North Coast Advisory Council on Sept. 18.

He brought council members up to date on North Coast crime statistics and answered questions about such potential problems as transients being pushed out of the San Luis Obispo area and possibly heading north, teams of high-pressure door-to-door salespeople sweeping through the area, trespassers on ag land and drug-running panga boats.

Of the latter, Nix said the open-bowed skiffs from Mexico land on North Coast shores because “Highway 1 is so close to the ocean, and so remote. … We have as many extra overtime patrols as we can looking for the boats” and the people who man them.

He said most of the marijuana transported on the boats is “fairly low grade,” destined for delivery to the Midwest.

Nix told The Cambrian, “I’m assuming command of a station that’s in fine working order with a wonderful staff. … I’m really looking forward to the challenge. Everything’s new for me here, so I get to roll up my sleeves and learn about the communities” and the residents. He described them as being “very tight-knit, very involved, very active in promoting and building their own community. In law enforcement, you want communities like that.”

He said his most challenging assignment so far was the October 1985 rape and murder of Mary Catherine Waterbury. The cold case took 18 years and DNA matching to solve, and was the first time this county had used such genetic testing to single out a perpetrator.

Nix, 45, said his toughest caseload has been crimes involving sexual assault or child abuse. “It’s emotionally draining and trying but also the most rewarding because it gives us the opportunity to break cycles of violence and abuse in families, cycles that may have going on for generations.”

He began as a patrol deputy in the South County and marched up the ranks to senior deputy, detective, sergeant, detective sergeant and commander.

Since his most recent promotion, he’s overseen department headquarters, supervising everything from dispatch, public information and crime-prevention functions to the canine corps and field training operations. “As the administrative guy on the campus, you catch a little bit of everything,” he said.

Law enforcement’s a family affair. Wife Tracy is a forensic interview specialist with the county District Attorney’s Office. The award winner founded the county’s program for special handling of children’s interviews.

The couple has two children.

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