The Dallas police chief who inspired a nation with his compassionate, community-focused response to the killing of five of his officers shares his story and a blueprint for the future of policing.
In 1983, David Brown was a young black man on a path to a bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas, but he changed paths in response to the epidemics of drug addiction and gun violence in the Dallas neighborhood where he grew up. A “throw ’em in jail and let God sort ’em out” beat cop in his early days, Brown evolved into a community-oriented law enforcement leader and thinker, rising from S.W.A.T. team leader, to internal affairs investigator, to chief of police.
On July 7, 2016, during a street demonstration against fatal shootings by the police, a sniper killed five Dallas police officers. Chief Brown quickly ended the gunman’s siege, calmed the community, and lent context for the rest of the country. He even enlisted the help of protesters, inviting them to become officers. Within two weeks, 467 Dallas citizens applied.
Brown offers insights into that tragic day, as well as highlights of his 33-year career, from quelling riots, to reducing crime to 50-year lows and excessive-force complaints by 70%.
He shares the intimate details of his personal story, including his marriage to another police officer, to the tragic deaths of his son, his brother, and his partner on the force.
Brown also outlines his community-based approach to policing. “The thing about trust is that it’s hard to earn, but easy to lose. I want to explore this balance of trust in depth as well as the other philosophies I’ve developed over three decades in law enforcement—and in life—to help police departments around the country and the world.”