Dr. Lee Brown Speaks At Celebration For Rev. John Edwards

Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Dr. Lee Brown
Dr. Lee Brown

A Celebration of Service ‘45-65-85’ honoring Reverend John Loyd Edwards, Jr. will be held on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo Imperial Ballroom.

Reverend Edwards is being honored for 45 years as a pastor, 65 years in the ministry and celebrating 85 years of life.

The celebration will be held in conjunction with the 2009 Edwards Family Reunion Banquet. The Honorable Dr. Lee P. Brown, former mayor of Houston, will be the keynote speaker.

Reservations are required. For more information call 267-2313.

Lee Patrick Brown, born Oct. 4, 1937, had a long-time career in law enforcement, leading police departments in Atlanta, Houston and New York over the course of nearly four decades. During this time he helped to implement a number of techniques in community policing that appeared to result in substantial decreases in crime.

In 1997 Dr. Brown was the first African American to be elected mayor of Houston. He was reelected twice to serve the maximum of three terms from 1998 to 2004.

His parents Andrew and Zelma Brown were share croppers in Oklahoma, and Lee Brown was born in Wewoka. His family, including six brothers, moved to California in the second wave of the Great Migration and his parents continued as farmers. A high school athlete, Dr. Brown earned a football scholarship to Fresno State University, where he earned a B.S. in criminology in 1960. That year he started as a police officer in San Jose, Ca.

Dr. Brown went on to earn a master's degree in sociology from San José State University in 1964, and became an assistant professor there in 1968. At the University of California, Berkeley, he earned a second master's in criminology in 1968, and became chairman and professor of the Department of Administration of Justice at Portland State University in the same year. He earned a doctorate in criminology from Berkeley in 1970.

In 1972, Dr. Brown was appointed associate director of the Institute of Urban Affairs and Research and professor of Public Administration and director of Criminal Justice programs at Howard University. In 1974, Dr. Brown was named sheriff of Multnomah County, Or. and in 1976 became director of the Department of Justice Services.

In 1978 he was appointed public safety commissioner of Atlanta and served to 1982. Dr. Brown and his staff solved the Atlanta Child Murders case.

Dr. Brown was the first African American to be appointed police chief to the city of Houston, and served from 1982-1990. He was first appointed by Mayor Kathy Whitmire. There he implemented methods of community policing.

Dr. Brown next took his leadership to New York City as police commissioner where he implemented community policing citywide. After one year, crime went down in every category. That was the start of the most drastic reduction of crime in the history of that city. Dr. Brown is known through the law enforcement community as the father of community policing.

In 1993 Dr. Brown moved to Washington, D.C. for a national appointment as the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (or "Drug Czar") under President Bill Clinton. The Senate unanimously confirmed his appointment.

In 1997, Dr. Brown was the first African American to be elected mayor in the city of Houston. Dr. Brown presided over what many say was the most prosperous six-year period in the history of Houston. Under his leadership, the city invested in extensive infrastructure: it started its first light-rail system and obtained voter approval for its extension, along with increases in bus service, park and ride, and HOV lanes; opened three new professional sports facilities; revitalized the downtown area; constructed the city's first convention center hotel, and doubled the size of the convention center; and constructed the Hobby Center of the Performing Arts. In addition, it built and renovated new libraries, police and fire stations; undertook a $2.9 billion development program at the city's airport system that consisted of new terminals and runways; a consolidated car rental facility; in addition to renovating other terminals and runways; and built a new water treatment plant.

Dr. Brown also advanced the city's affirmative action program; installed programs in city libraries to provide access to the Internet; built the state-of-the-art Houston Emergency Communications Center; implemented e-government, and opened new parks. Many of the projects were planned or started by previous mayor Bob Lanier, who served until term limits. Dr. Brown led trade missions for the business community to other countries and promoted international trade. He increased the number of foreign consulates.

Dr. Brown is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established by African Americans. He is also a member of Sigma Pi Phi, an African-American fraternity for those who have achieved distinction in their chosen profession.

While in Houston, Dr. Brown was a professor at Texas Southern University and director of the university's Black Male Initiative Program.

Dr. Brown is a co-founder of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. Dr. Brown is chairman and chief executive officer of Brown Group International, which develops solutions to complex problems in public safety, home land security, crisis management, government relations, international trade, and other concerns.


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