Terry Nichols, a former San Marcos Police Department commander who now works at an active shooter training center for law enforcement, will be Brownwood’s next police chief.
    Brownwood City Council members unanimously confirmed Tuesday morning City Manager Emily Crawford’s selection of Nichols, who starts work July 5. Nichols will replace outgoing Chief Mike Corley, who retires June 22.
    Nichols has been in law enforcement for more than 25 years including 21 years with the San Marcos Police Department, where he retired in 2010 with the rank of commander. As a commander, Nichols led and managed the patrol and criminal investigation divisions.
    Nichols currently works as the assistant director and director of curriculum development at the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) center at Texas State University in San Marcos. The center was created in 2002 as a partnership between the university and law enforcement to address the need for active shooter response training for first responders.
    Nichols became a founding member of ALERRT after serving with a multi-agency SWAT team and seeing the need for more active shooter training, the center’s web site states. ALERRT has received more than $50 million in federal and state grants and has trained more than 90,000 officers.
    The City of Brownwood received 37 applications for the police chief’s job, and a police chief advisory board consisting of police and city officials interviewed 11  applicants, Crawford said at Tuesday’s council meeting.
     “Mr. Nichols’ passion for public safety, not only for the citizens but also for law enforcement, is the driving force in his career,” Crawford said. “He’s very much a champion of training, not only for local police officers, but also other first responders.
    “All of the reference calls we made, we heard the same thing: he’s a team builder and consensus builder, he brings people together for the community, and for that reason I am very pleased to recommend (Nichols).”
    Nichols had also received the unanimous support of the police chief advisory board, Crawford said.
    Councilman Larry Mathis, who was also a member of the advisory board, said the search process was exhaustive but exhilarating. “We interviewed multiple candidates who we thought were well qualified,”  Mathis said.  “Any one of them could have served as the (police chief). But in the end, Terry Nichols, we felt, was the single candidate who had a strong consensus from the (advisory board).”
    Nichols was best prepared to lead Brownwood and “represent what we believe is in the greatest interest of the community of Brownwood,” Mathis said.
    The councilman said the “due diligence” of Crawford and other advisory board members led to the selection of “a very fortunate and gifted find” in Nichols. Mathis said Nichols represents “all that we hope for” in a police chief.
    Through the span of his career, Nichols has extensive experience collaborating and communicating with local law enforcement agencies, community leaders, and citizens, a press release from Crawford’s office stated. Nichols is known by his colleagues as a team builder, with the ability to bring people together for a common goal, the release stated.    
    After council members voted to confirm Nichols, Mayor Stephen Haynes said, “I’m happy to report that you are approved unanimously.”
    Nichols, who grew up in Temple, has a bachelors degree in criminal justice and a masters in administration of criminal justice. Both degrees are from Texas State University.
    Nichols has been married to his wife, Nicky, for 25 years. They are the parents of two adult children.