Chief McDowell retiring after 34 years


Reasons to retire are different for everyone, and sometimes it can be difficult to leave a job that you enjoy.

Joe McDowell was born in Oklahoma, but grew up in Levelland. He attended Levelland High School, and worked at Smith Funeral Home for two years. After graduating from high school, he joined the Army for three years.

He attended boot camp in Fort Lewis, Washington, and after boot camp, he was stationed overseas in Nuremberg, Germany for two years.

Once returning home from the Army, McDowell worked with AMOCO, which is an oil company, around Levelland.

After working for AMOCO, McDowell attended SPC, but didn’t graduate. He decided to go into SPAG (South Plains Association of Governments) academy in 1983 in Lubbock. The police academy lasted for about three months.

“I was just amazed about police officers,” explained McDowell, “and I just wanted to be one.”

Adorable Retiring Officer
Police chief Joe McDowell is retiring at the end of June. BRANDI ORTIZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS

He started working for the Levelland Police Department at 31 years old, and continued there for 23 years. After just two years, he became a sergeant. When he reached age 55, McDowell decided to retire the first time. But it only lasted around eight months before he took a job as a police officer for SPC, thinking that he would only be doing the job for a few years to save up money.

Joe McDowell’s last day as the SPC Police Chief will be June 30. He says he will be saying good-bye to spend more time with his family and enjoy his free time.

The chief that was here before McDowell quit not long after he started at SPC, so he was offered the chief position. He has held that position for 10 years, bringing him to 34 years of service.

“I decided to come out here to go to work for a short time,” said McDowell. “Then I was asked if I wanted the job. I said, ‘yes’, and that was 10 years ago.”

McDowell says that he is ready to be able to enjoy his retirement and his family.

“I plan to sleep, play golf, and go fishing, but not necessarily in that order,” said McDowell. “And definitely go see my grandkids and spend time with them.”

McDowell says that he has enjoyed his time at SPC, working with the faculty, and getting along with the students.

“I don’t know if I would miss anything or not,” said McDowell. “I have been doing this business for so long. It’s been a good ride, but I am ready to be out of the job and spend more time with my family.”

If given a second chance at life, McDowell said that he would go down the same path with SPCPD.

“I have made a lot of friends here at SPC,” said McDowell. “But I’ve also lived here all my life, so I already knew most people in Levelland.”

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