Nichols appointed to take Garza’s place on board

HPOU has sworn in Kawanski “Nic” Nichols as the Union’s newest board member, replacing Position 1 Board Member J. G. Garza, who recently retired from HPD.

Nichols, a Montgomery, Alabama, native and U. S. Army veteran with a tour of Iraq under his belt, graduated from HPD Academy Class No. 211 in 2011. He started training on Northeast Patrol and has spent most of his career to date in the Vehicle Crimes Unit. He’s current with the Hit and Run Unit.

He served seven and a half years in the Army, including three at Fort Hood in Central Texas. “I visited Houston several times and decided when I got out to make Houston home, ” Nichols – or “Nic” as he is called – told the Badge & Gun. He had served as a military police officer and applied at both the Houston and Beaumont PDs.

Beaumont actually made the first offer but Nic preferred Houston. He worked in the City’s Parking Management Office for six months before entering the academy.

He conducted combat missions in Iraq and trained local and military police there during the years 2006 and 2007. After his service in Iraq he “jumped out of planes” in the airborne division and also served in Recruiting. He earned the rank of sergeant.

As to his career with HPD, “For me it was always a lifelong goal, ” he said, “from watching TV shows. I’m a leadership-type personality who enjoys helping people. ” He especially enjoyed the sheriff portrayed by Andy Griffith, Magnum P. I. and CHIPs.

Nic also served as a Montgomery firefighter two years before entering the service. He also met and married his wife Candace there.

He said he wants to help fully rejuvenate and emphasize HPD as “more of a family-oriented police department and restore the camaraderie that it once had. I see a lot of younger officers who tend to be different than the older ones as far as extending a helping hand. A lot can get lost with all the retirements. By having a newer officer on the Union board, I hope we’ll be able to bridge the gap between the old and the new. ”