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Lee Brown

Criminologist, Public Administrator, Politician and Businessman. Lee Brown's life in itself is an inspiration

Lee Brown, Born to migrant farm workers in rural Oklahoma, his birth certificate read, “Baby Brown.” From that humble beginning, he rose to the pinnacle of American politics, serving in the Cabinet of the President of the United States and Mayor of Houston, Texas, the fourth largest city in America. The son of farm workers, Dr.…

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Lee Brown, Born to migrant farm workers in rural Oklahoma, his birth certificate read, “Baby Brown.” From that humble beginning, he rose to the pinnacle of American politics, serving in the Cabinet of the President of the United States and Mayor of Houston, Texas, the fourth largest city in America.

The son of farm workers, Dr. Brown worked his way through college and received the best public education this country has to offer. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in criminology from Fresno State University, a master’s degree in sociology from San Jose State University, and both a master’s and doctorate in criminology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Lee Brown’s life has been one of vision, tenacity, commitment, hard work, and social consciousness.

Dr. Brown started his police career as a beat cop with the San Jose, California Police Department where he developed one of the nation’s first police community-relations programs. He served as Sheriff of Multnomah County, Oregon and pioneered the concept of Team Policing before being promoted to Director of the County’s Department of Justice Services, a Department comprised of all of the County’s criminal justice agencies.

In 1978, Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson selected him to serve as Atlanta’s Commissioner of Public Safety. He was responsible for the City’s Police, Fire, Corrections, and Civil Defense Departments. It was in that position that Dr. Brown attracted the attention of the world as he calmly handled the investigation of the Atlanta Child Murders. He was credited with not only innovative investigative techniques, but also holding the city together during the unprecedented serial murder cases that took the lives of over twenty African-American young people.

After solving that case and convicting the person responsible for the murders, he was selected by Houston Mayor Kathy Whitmire to serve as Houston’s Police Chief and reform that City’s troubled police department. Dr. Brown pioneered the concept of community policing and transformed the Houston Police Department into one of the most respected police agencies in the nation. It was during his service in Houston that he earned the title of “Father of Community Policing.”

In 1990, his services were tapped by Mayor David Dinkins to serve as Police Commissioner of New York City. There, he implemented the concept of community policing citywide and after one year crime went down. That was the start of New York City’s most dramatic reduction in crime.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton tapped Brown to serve in his Cabinet as the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, commonly called Drug Czar. Dr. Brown changed the nation’s drug control strategy by placing a greater emphasis on reducing the demand for drugs.

In 1997, Brown was elected Mayor of Houston, Texas, and reelected twice. As Mayor, he presided over what has been labeled the most prosperous six-year period in the history of the City. During his administration, the City opened three new sports venues (football, baseball and basketball), built the City’s first convention center hotel, doubled the size of the convention center, built the City’s first light rail system and obtained voter approval for a 72-mile expansion. He oversaw a $2.9 billion airport improvement program, built a new water treatment plant, opened a new performing arts center, libraries, police and fire stations, parks, and presided over the revitalization of the downtown area. Mayor Brown also took his concept of community policing and applied it to all City departments under an innovative concept that he titled Neighborhood Oriented Government.

Dr. Brown also has a distinguished career as an academician. He served as a part-time professor at San Jose State University, Professor and Department Chairman at Portland State University, Professor and Associate Director of the Institute for Urban Affairs and Research at Howard University, Research Fellow at Harvard University, University Professor at Texas Southern University, Professor of Sociology and the first Senior Scholar at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and most recently, a Visiting Scholar in the School of Social Sciences at Rice University. He is the coauthor or editor of several books and the author of numerous articles and chapters in books.

Dr. Brown has been awarded six honorary doctor’s degrees from American universities and six visiting professorships from universities in the People’s Republic of China. He is a recipient of numerous awards, including Father of the Year and most recently, Alumnus of the Year by the University of California at Berkeley. He is the recipient of the Cartier Pasha Award and has been inducted into both the Gallup and Black Public Administrators Halls of Fame.

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