By Charlotte Aguilar
The burly, big-hearted cop who many thought would be West University Place’s next police chief has died.
Capt. Damien Niko, just 42 years old and a 15-year veteran of the department, died Saturday (Feb. 6). The official cause of death has not been released, according to a spokeswoman for the city. He is survived by his wife and three children.
After working briefly as a deputy jailer in Fort Bend County, Niko joined the West U PD in 2006 as a patrol officer and moved up to sergeant in 2009. He was promoted to captain in 2018 and “played an integral role” in the department’s operations, according to a statement issued by the city Tuesday.
“The sudden loss of Captain Niko comes as a tremendous devastation to our department,” said a grieving Chief Ken Walker. “Niko’s leadership, skills, and integrity led him to a successful career, ultimately earning him the role as captain. His dedication to our family in blue is something that will be forever missed. My sincerest condolences go out to his family during this time.”
Like Walker, Niko was an active member of the International Association of Police Chiefs and the Texas Police Chiefs Association.
Niko earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Arizona State University, which recruited him and awarded him a scholarship to play football. Last year, he earned his master’s of science degree in business management and leadership from Western Governor’s University.
Services are pending. The city of West University is flying its flags at half-staff until his interment.