Jane Castor remembers the rickety old building she used to play volleyball and basketball in while she was a University of Tampa student back in the 1980s.
Her teams were the only ones that would get rained out even though they were in a building.
On Sept. 16, Castor was appointed to be the first female Chief of the Tampa Police Department.
Because of her appointment, two of the top city and county law enforcement positions are held by UT alumni.
Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee graduated in 1990 graduated with a degree in mathematics.
There are only nine other female chiefs out of almost 300 police departments in Florida and Castor will be one of them.
Graduating from UT in 1981, Castor earned her Bachelor of Science in Criminology.
She continued on to receive her Masters of Public Administration from Troy State University. She is also a graduate of the FBI’s National Academy.
Education was strongly encouraged in her family. She was able to receive a full volleyball and basketball scholarship to attend UT.
Castor said the scholarship was a key break in her life and the involvement in athletics at UT allowed her to learn the valuable life skills she uses to this day.
Although she was only across the river from the TPD, she didn’t really plan on joining the force while at UT.
“I didn’t have a lifelong desire to be a police officer,” Castor said.
Before long, a family member in law enforcement inspired her to take on the career.
Castor was originally interested in entering the federal services but wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
“I didn’t have any idea in what I was getting into,” Castor said.
She had friends in the TPD and she joined the force in February 1984.
“There has never been a day where I haven’t enjoyed coming to work,” Castor said.
Her most recent post before becoming chief this year she was promoted to assistant chief in 2005.
While on the force she has worked various assignments including patrol divisions, narcotics, criminal investigation and intelligence.
Her favorite position was heading the Criminal Intelligence Bureau and Administrative Division.
There, Castor worked with dignitaries, Homeland Security, criminal investigation as well as subversive group investigations.
When asked where she saw herself taking the TPD, Castor said she wants to continue the direct mission of the TPD which is “to reduce crime and enhance the quality of life through a cooperative partnership with all citizens.”
Castor’s biggest concern is crime prevention and crime awareness.
In the 20 years she has been in the law enforcement, the biggest change has been technology.
Her advice to UT students and college students across the country is to exercise good judgment in what they do and especially watch what they do online.
Castor often comes to UT volleyball games and has even come to speak at some of the criminology classes.