FROSTBURG — Frostburg Chief of Police Nick Costello earned a law degree this month, but he isn’t planning a career change.
“My responsibility to the city is my top priority and I primarily look for my legal education to help me in my daily work as the police chief,” said Costello, who joined the department in 2006 as a patrolman with a high school education and security experience.
Costello graduated with his Juris Doctor degree, summa cum laude, from Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the first school in the country to offer a hybrid program accredited by the American Bar Association.
“It was a terrific, high-quality program,” said Costello, who traveled to Saint Paul several times a year for in-person components.
Noting that the program involved an “extraordinary” amount of reading, writing and analysis associated with legal education, Costello said those skills “are actually very transferrable to my work as police chief.”
The chief said his legal education will help him in the public administration of his duties as police chief in addition to drafting policies and procedures, reviewing memorandum of understanding documents and other agreements.
Since he began his 15-year career with the police department, Costello has earned his law degree, a Master of Arts degree in criminal justice from Arizona State University, a Bachelor of Science degree in justice studies with a philosophy minor from Fort Hays State University as well as an associate degree in criminology from Allegany College of Maryland.
“I think education is very important. I consider myself a lifelong learner, and school gives me the structure and the resources,” said Costello, who expressed gratitude for the support he has received in his educational pursuits.
Now that he has earned his degree, Costello is studying in preparation of taking the Maryland bar exam next month.
“Provided I succeed and become licensed, I would be open to some limited legal work to the extent my employment and duties permitted and to the extent the city was comfortable,” he said.
The chief also said he has personally paid for all of his post-secondary education without any cost to the city and without the assistance of a partial tuition reimbursement program that is available to city employees.
“The city has already given me excellent opportunities, and given me the highest honor by entrusting me to serve as chief of police,” said Costello. “The city has already given me enough and I am glad to give back by educating myself and doing the best work I can every day.”
Costello said he received a scholarship from the Mitchell Hamline School of Law that covered a portion of the cost of tuition.