Nikki Niles to lead Olmsted County's new Diversity, Equity, and Community Outreach Team

Nikki Niles
On Monday, August 17, 2020, Nikki Niles will officially assume the role of program manager for Olmsted County’s new Diversity, Equity, and Community Outreach Team. In this position, Niles will oversee the following groups: 

  • Olmsted County Pretrial Services Team
  • Community outreach workers on the Law Enforcement Liaison Team
  • Children of Incarcerated Parents

In order to build a vibrant, inclusive, and opportunity-rich environment for everyone in Olmsted County, this new team will be tasked with developing diversity and equity strategies to help eliminate disparities for these publicly delivered community services. This is a tangible example of work being done at the county to address diversity and inclusion through its “One Olmsted” initiative.  

Niles and her team will be an important element of Community Corrections work as part of Olmsted County’s Health, Housing, and Human Services division. 

This new role comes as a result of a July 7, 2020 vote by the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners to expand a program which teams up community outreach workers with local law enforcement. 

“We are very excited to have Nikki on board in this new role and to begin moving forward with expansion of this new program,” said Director of Dodge-Fillmore-Olmsted Community Corrections Travis Gransee. “Nikki brings a wealth of experience to this position. She has experience developing programs that create change within the system. Nikki is a tireless advocate and has a great deal of passion for ensuring we are offering the best possible service to the clients and communities we serve. Her unique blend of law enforcement experience paired with the behavioral health experience in Community Corrections provides a very solid foundation for her to lead this expanded initiative in our community.”  

“We in law enforcement have been looking forward to the possibilities this new team may provide – especially the expansion of the program to provide more availability for on-scene mental health support to our deputies and officers,” said Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson. “This will be critical for the increasing number of calls we receive for persons in crisis.” 

“I applied for this position because I believe in the importance of the work that will come from the Diversity, Equity, and Community Outreach Team,” said Niles. “Across our system, specifically the criminal justice system, there are a vast number of communities disproportionately represented, and often it’s due to lack of resources and the ‘criminalization’ of behaviors. I am looking forward to building a strong program and offering the citizens of this community, especially the disparate communities, resources that are in alignment with diversity and equity.”

Niles has worked at Olmsted County since April 2012. Her first role with the county was as a probation officer. Between 2012 and 2018, Niles assisted justice involved clients on probation and supervised release. In 2018, she was promoted to a probation officer specialist position and developed the Olmsted County Pretrial Program. 

Prior to her time at Olmsted County, Niles served as a police officer with the East Lansing Police Department in Michigan from 2002 to 2012. She also was an instructor for the Mid-Michigan Police Academy at Lansing Community College from 2008 to 2012. 

Niles has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati.