Former student plans to bring fresh ideas as new police chief

by MICHAELA CHAMBLEE//Editorial Assistant

After starting at South Plains College as a police officer, Nick Castillo has taken on a new role as campus police chief.

Castillo grew up in Levelland. Although he has moved around a little from time to time, he has always come back to his hometown.

“I have a lot of family in the area,” said Castillo. “Levelland is home to me.”

Becoming a police officer was not always his dream. Castillo was recruited into the Navy after graduating from high school. But that dream ended when he was in a bad traffic accident before he could be shipped off.

“I shattered everything from my knee up to my hip,” said Castillo. “My next best option was to go into the police academy, since the military wouldn’t accept me.”

New police chief, Nick Castillo, in front of the Technology Center MICHAELA CHAMBLEE//PLAINSMAN PRESS

After graduating from the SPC Police Academy in the summer of 2011, Castillo joined SPC as a campus police officer. After working with SPCPD for five years, he got the opportunity to take Joe McDowell’s place as police chief after McDowell retired in July.

“It was something I saw on the horizon, knowing that our current police chief was close to retirement,” said Castillo. “I have a lot of ideas for this place. When I said this is home, this college is also home to me.”

Castillo says that the SPC administration has been supportive as he moves forward with his ideas. But he does not plan to move forward with any major police department in the near future.

“I feel like right now I am already part of the Levelland PD,” said Castillo, “especially taking on this role as police chief. I have a lot to do out here, so that is not on my radar at the moment.”

The campus police department features a chief, lieutenant, sergeant, and three other officers completing a six-officer staff.

“I really enjoy working with my officers,” said Castillo. “Before the two officers we brought on, I was actually the rookie, so I already knew all of the officers.”

In his free time away from being police chief, he is taking classes at SPC to expand his knowledge in the business area.

“I don’t really know what I would use it for in the future,” Castillo said. “But it has already proven beneficial trying to run a department that is a part of a huge community.”

Castillo, 27, has been married for the past two years to his wife, Danielle, and has a 10-year-old daughter. In his spare time, he enjoys being with his family and hanging out with his friends, along with playing racquetball, swimming, and running.

“I try to stay active during my free time,” said Castillo. “I am just a normal person.”

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