David Brown (police officer)

David O'Neal Brown (born September 18, 1960[1]) is an American police officer who is currently serving as Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.[2] He was the chief of the Dallas Police Department from 2010 to 2016. He has been widely praised for his reforms designed to reduce violent confrontations between police officers and the community and increase the department's accountability and transparency. He has also been criticized by the local police union for the methods of implementation of some of his policies.[3]

David Brown
Dallas Police Chief David O Brown (1).jpg
63rd Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department
Assumed office
April 15, 2020
(Interim from April 15–22, 2020)
MayorLori Lightfoot
Preceded byCharlie Beck
Chief of the Dallas Police Department
In office
Succeeded byReneé Hall
Personal details
David O'Neal Brown

(1960-09-18) September 18, 1960 (age 61)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
EducationSouth Oak Cliff High School
Alma mater


A Dallas native, Brown is a graduate of South Oak Cliff High School and attended the University of Texas at Austin before enrolling in the Dallas police academy, originally with the intention of becoming a prosecutor.[4] He earned a Bachelor of Science from Dallas Baptist University, in 1999 and an MBA from Amberton University, in 2001[5][6] and graduated from the FBI National Academy and the FBI National Executive Institute, the Senior Management Institute for Police, the National Counter-Terrorism Seminar in Tel Aviv, and the United States Secret Service dignitary protection seminar. He is certified by the State of Texas as a master peace officer and a police instructor.[7]


Dallas Police DepartmentEdit

After joining the Dallas Police Department in 1983, Brown worked in patrol divisions, SWAT, and internal affairs.[4][8] He became first assistant chief of police in 2005; in 2007–08, he served as assistant city manager.[6] He was appointed police chief in April 2010[9] and sworn into office on May 4, 2010.[8][10]

The New York Times reported that Brown has "earned a national reputation as a progressive leader whose top priority is improving relations and reducing distrust between the police department and the city’s minority residents." He has advocated reducing the use of force and discouraged chasing suspects in cars and even by foot, since such chases often lead to fatalities. According to published reporting, he also has a reputation as a "tough boss" and has fought with the local police union over his emphasis on less-confrontational strategies and his willingness to fire officers, often publicly.[3][4][6] He has also sought to increase transparency by equipping officers with body cameras[11][12] and sought to reform training on the use of lethal force.[13] It has also been reported that some African American residents still feel they are subject to discrimination by the police.[14]

Brown was chief during the 2016 shooting of Dallas police officers that killed five police officers and injured nine others and two civilians. He made the choice to use C-4 explosive delivered by a robot to kill the shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson, who was heavily armed and secured behind a brick corner with no safe way for police to rush Johnson or reach him with a sniper.[15] The killing of Johnson was the first time in United States history a robot was used by police to deliver lethal force against a suspect.[16]

On September 1, 2016, Brown announced that he would be retiring from the Dallas Police Department on October 22, 2016.[17] Despite being the longest serving police chief in recent decades, he gave no reason for his retirement only about 7 weeks after the Dallas police shootings, but the mayor and city manager both said that he was not forced out of office.[18] Brown subsequently moved up his retirement date to October 4, 2016 to better coordinate dates with an upcoming pension board meeting.[19]

External video
  Presentation by Brown on Called to Rise, June 1, 2017, C-SPAN

In 2017 Brown's memoir, Called To Rise: A Life in Faithful Service to the Community That Made Me, was published by Ballantine Books.[20][21]

Chicago Police DepartmentEdit

On April 2, 2020, Brown was nominated to be Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.[22] He took over as acting Superintendent on April 15, after his predecessor Charlie Beck, who held the position on an interim basis after the dismissal of Eddie T. Johnson, stepped down.[23] His nomination was unanimously approved by Chicago City Council and he was sworn in on April 22.[2][24]

Personal lifeEdit

Brown is married to former Dallas police sergeant Cedonia Brown.[4][10] In 1988, his police academy classmate, U.S Army veteran of the Vietnam War, and former partner Walter Williams was fatally shot in the line of duty. In 1991, his younger brother, Kelvin, was killed by drug dealers in the Phoenix area.[25]

On June 20, 2010, his 27-year-old son, David Brown Jr., who suffered from bipolar disorder, according to media reports and had only a minor prior record involving a marijuana arrest, shot and killed 23-year-old Jeremy McMillian and 37-year-old Lancaster, Texas police officer Craig Shaw. Brown was fatally shot more than a dozen times in the ensuing shootout with officers responding to the scene.[26] The Dallas County medical examiner's autopsy reported the presence of PCP in Brown's bloodstream.[27][28]


  1. ^ David Brown (May 3, 2011). "David Brown: A challenging, encouraging first year as police chief". Dallas News. Retrieved July 13, 2016. I was born in old Parkland hospital in 1960
  2. ^ a b Bauer, Kelly (2020-04-21). "David Brown Sworn In As Chicago's New Police Superintendent". Block Club Chicago. Archived from the original on 2020-04-24. Retrieved 2020-04-22.
  3. ^ a b Joseph Goldstein (July 8, 2016). "Dallas Police Chief David Brown, a Reformer, Becomes Face of Nation's Shock". The New York Times. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Scott Goldstein, Dallas Morning News, "Dallas Police Chief David Brown is a private man in a most public job", TXCN, May 23, 2010, Archive.org at the Wayback Machine, June 30, 2010.
  5. ^ David O. Brown. Chief of Police Dallas Police Department. 2016. Retrieved July 7, 2016
  6. ^ a b c Scott Goldstein, "Hometown cop David Brown is accessible to residents but stern with those under his command", Dallas Morning News, April 1, 2010, updated November 26, 2010.
  7. ^ "Biography: David O. Brown: Chief of Police" (PDF). Dallas Police, City of Dallas. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 4, 2012.
  8. ^ a b Frank Heinz, "Dallas Has a New Top Cop: David Brown sworn in at 3 p.m. Tuesday", NBC DFW, May 4, 2010.
  9. ^ Shelley Kofler, "Veteran Officer Named Dallas Police Chief", KERA News, April 28, 2010.
  10. ^ a b Scott Goldstein, "Retired Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle has left the building — with his margarita machine"; "Update: David Brown sworn in as Dallas police chief" Archived 2010-05-09 at the Wayback Machine, crime blog, Dallas Morning News, May 4, 2010.
  11. ^ "Police Chief David Brown To Spend $1M+ On Body Cams", CBS DFW, August 20, 2014.
  12. ^ Nomaan Merchant; Jim Salter (August 28, 2014). "US Police Reaching Out to Black Communities". Black Press USA. Association Press. Archived from the original on September 3, 2014.
  13. ^ Radley Balko, "Two-and-a-half cheers for Dallas Police Chief David Brown", Opinions, The Washington Post, January 16, 2014.
  14. ^ "Have the Dallas Police Improved? Depends on Whom You Ask", By John Eligon and Nikole Hannah-Jones, The New York Times, July 12, 2016
  15. ^ Wilonsky, Robert (July 10, 2016). "How and why Dallas police decided to use a bomb to end the standoff with lone gunman". Dallas Morning News (online ed.). Dallas. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  16. ^ Thielman, Sam (July 8, 2016). "Use of police robot to kill Dallas shooting suspect believed to be first in US history". The Guardian. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  17. ^ Brown, David O. (September 1, 2016). "Chief David O. Brown Announces His Retirement". DPD Beat. Archived from the original on September 2, 2016. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  18. ^ "Dallas chief who oversaw response to sniper attack to retire". Yahoo! News. Associated Press. September 1, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  19. ^ WFAA Staff (15 September 2016). "Dallas chief David Brown to retire early". WFAA. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  20. ^ Raphelson, Samantha (June 6, 2017). "'Called To Rise': Dallas Police Chief On Overcoming Racial Division". All Things Considered. National Public Radio. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  21. ^ "Called to rise : a life in faithful service to the community that made me". WorldCat. OCLC. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  22. ^ Fran Spielman (April 2, 2020). "Former Dallas police chief is Lightfoot pick for Chicago top cop". Chicago Sun Times.
  23. ^ Masterson, Matt (15 April 2020). "Charlie Beck Steps Down as David Brown Becomes Chicago's New Top Cop". WTTW News. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  24. ^ Spielman, Fran (2020-04-22). "City Council unanimously approves David Brown as Chicago's $260,044-a-year police superintendent". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2020-04-22.
  25. ^ Theresa Vargas (July 8, 2016). "Dallas Police Chief David Brown lost his son, former partnerejeuj brother to violence". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  26. ^ James Meikle and Associated Press, "Dallas police chief's grief after his son kills policeman and young father", The Guardian, June 23, 2010.
  27. ^ Tanya Eiserer, "Autopsy finds PCP in bloodstream of Dallas police chief's son", Dallas Morning News, June 30, 2010, updated November 26, 2010.
  28. ^ Judge, Phoebe. "Becoming Chief Brown". This is Criminal.

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