Three and a half years after stepping down as chief of the Dallas Police Department, David Brown has been named to lead Chicago's police force. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Brown's selection Thursday afternoon.
"We are Chicago and we deserve the best," Lightfoot said. "In this time, in this moment, David Brown is the absolute best."
Brown, as he did so often during his time in Dallas, focused on his sense of duty to the public as he accepted his new job.
"Chicago is a lot like my hometown of Dallas, strong, proud and tough, not to mention the great barbecue," Brown said, "but the biggest connection I've seen is in the passion people have for improving their communities and helping their cities succeed like kindred spirits crossing paths towards the apex of excellence."
Brown joined DPD in 1983, he said in a letter announcing his retirement, because of the crack epidemic's effect on his Oak Cliff neighborhood. He moved up the ranks over more than three decades at the department, becoming an assistant chief in 2005 and Dallas police chief in 2010.
During his time as Dallas' chief, Brown help reduce the city's violent crime to the lowest it had been in decades. He implemented department-wide de-escalation training and promoted transparency between DPD and the public, especially with regard to police shootings.
He was chief for a little more than six years and repeatedly faced crisis.
In 2012, he warded off a riot in Dixon Circle.
An officer, Brian Rowden, chased and shot James Harper. Rumors built that Rowden shot Harper in the back until Brown showed up and calmed the situation.
"I think [Dixon Circle] was the most significant thing that had happened to the department in decades. We had a near riot, we had a pre-Ferguson event," Brown said. "Without my holding a press conference by the next news cycle, it's likely that we would've been Ferguson before Ferguson was Ferguson."
Following Harper's death, Brown changed the department's foot-chase policy and the way fights between officers and suspects are documented.
Four years later, Brown became Dallas' public face after five DPD and DART police officers were shot and killed in downtown Dallas, following a protest against police violence. Brown ordered the robot attack that killed the alleged shooter. Five days later, he joined presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush in speaking at the memorial for the victims.
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