David Brown was a Dallas Police Chief from 2010 to 2016. He served thirty-three years and is now retired.
It seems like now every night when we watch the news there are protests and mass shootings. Every week, it seems like we receive notices to lower the flag due to some murder.
Police officers face new challenges today with automatic weapons, technology and social media. I believe we have social media to thank for some of the rioting. People respond before they know the full facts of a situation. Even with video footage, there still be more to the story or another angle.
David felt called to enter the police force after his sophomore year in college when he visited home and noticed his neighborhood deteriorating into drugs. He didn’t take for granted how hard his mother worked to raise him and wanted to make a difference in his community.
After becoming an officer, he dealt with his own private pain while continuing to serve faithfully. He lost three loved ones to murder. His friend was killed in the line of duty. His brother had gotten involved with drug use and was killed during an argument with his drug dealer. His son had been diagnosed with bipolar and had marijuana laced with PCP in his system when he died. It caused seizures.
David served in assignments with dispatch, SWAT, community policing and finally, as chief. One change he saw was in how officers had to protect themselves. In the beginning, SWAT members only had pistols, with the leader having an automatic weapon. The individuals they encountered had automatic weapons. Over time, SWAT members needed automatic weapons and helmets as well.
Another change he saw was in community policing. At first, officers thought they would all the action and didn’t understand the benefits of it. After having experience with if, David realized he had a shift in thinking and it became second nature to him.
As chief, it was a big responsibility balancing the needs of officers and the community. He also dealt with community leaders. If there were cases of excessive force with officers, he dealt with them.
I appreciate that a man of faith felt called to serve his community for over thirty years, even while experiencing his own personal losses. He could have given up. It wasn’t easy. Even though we see tough situations arise today, for every officer responding badly, there are officers who dedicate their lives doing it the right way.