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New Brownwood police chief sworn in, wants collaboration

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BROWNWOOD, Texas - Tuesday ushered in a new era for the Brownwood Police Department.

Terry Nichols, who served with the San Marcos Police Department for 21 years, was sworn in as the department's new chief at a ceremony held at the Brown County Law Enforcement Center.

Brownwood Mayor Stephen Haynes introduced Nichols alongside city manager Emily Crawford and council members Draco Miller and Larry Mathis.

"He was a unanimous candidate by both the selection staff and the council, and I think that speaks to his qualifications," Haynes said.

Nichols wasted no time to announce his plans for the department. He extended a hand to other Brown County law enforcement agencies in his speech, asking to collaborate.

Early Police Chief David Mercer said it was a gesture he appreciated.

"He said earlier, ‘The crooks don't know boundaries, they don't look at boundaries, they just go where they go,'" Mercer said. "If we don't work together, the public is going to suffer."

Nichols also talked about training his officers with new tools needed to combat crime.

"[It will be] through Texas State University, called the ALERT system," Nichols said. "It's a grant-funded, free training to train our first responders, not SWAT … to go into these really serious acts of violence."

Several of Nichols' former colleagues made the trip from San Marcos and sat in the front row to watch him take the reins.

"He's going to be an approachable police chief," San Marcos Police Chief Chase Stapp said. Stapp said he spent years working with Nichols. "He'll be very visible, he'll be out in the community, and he'll be out there with his officers."

Nichols is only the second appointed chief for Brownwood. Before previous chief Mike Corley took the job, chiefs were elected.

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