Toney Cowan, Levelland chief of police, received a standing ovation at the city council meeting, Monday, after informing the council he would be retiring after 38 years, effective April 30.
Cowan said he and his family were pursuing a business venture and he and his family had decided now was the time for Cowan to pursue other interests.
“I’ve been blessed to be doing something I enjoy for the past 38 years. It’s been a privlege and an honor, I’ve enjoyed it every day,” Cowan said. “But, I had to make a choice and we’ve made it. We’re very happy and very excited.”
Cowan bought a building on the downtown square and is planning to open an antique and craft mall.
He has served as the police chief in Levelland for 14 years. He started his law enforcement career with the department when he was 20 years old.
“As far back as I remember I wanted to be a police officer,” Cowan said. “I just enjoyed being able to serve the public and help people out. I always wanted to be a solution or help solve a problem to the best of my ability.”
Along the way, Cowan developed a love for woodworking, as well. Growing up, Cowan said he spent a lot of time around construction and was always intrigued by it.
“I always had a desire to do that,” Cowan said.
He said after he and his wife started their family, they began making small wood designs and selling them to make extra money.
“Around Christmas time we would build different things and sell them to make some money for the season,” Cowan said.
After a while, the skill began to evolve into a trade that Cowan and his wife participated in frequently.
“It kept growing and we thought we would want to do this full time at some point,” Cowan said. “It was getting harder and harder to do both.”
Cowan reflected on his beginnings at the department and said the current emergency management coordinator, David Corder, was his training officer on Cowan’s first shift.
After two years, Cowan was promoted to sergeant and in 1985 promoted to assistant chief of police under the former chief of police, Ted Holder.
“He took me under his wing and made sure I developed,” Cowan said. “He pushed me to advance myself. Getting the chance to follow a great chief prepared me to take this job more than anything.”
In 2002, Cowan was promoted to his current position as chief of police.
Read the full story in the Wednesday edition of the News-Press