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'Father of Community Policing' Is Advising Fresno Reform Commission
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By Bill McEwen, News Director
Published 4 years ago on
June 19, 2020

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Lee P. Brown, who is among America’s leading experts on community policing, is consulting with the Fresno Commission on Police Reform, the group’s chairman, Oliver Baines, said Thursday.

“We’re truly fortunate to have (Lee Brown) giving us his thoughts and recommendations, and sharing his expertise.” — Oliver Baines, chairman, Fresno Police Reform Commission

“This is a great win for Fresno,” Baines said. “Dr. Brown is considered the father of community-based policing. We’re truly fortunate to have him giving us his thoughts and recommendations, and sharing his expertise.”

Deep Ties to Fresno

Brown’s ties to Fresno run deep. He grew up in Fowler and graduated from Fresno State in 1960 with a criminology degree. Beginning as a patrol officer in San Jose, Brown went on to lead police departments in Atlanta, Houston, and New York City. He also served as President Clinton’s drug czar and is a former three-term mayor of Houston.

Brown has a master’s degree in sociology from San Jose State and a master’s and a doctorate in criminology from UC Berkley.

Began Community Policing in Houston

“I was chatting with him about how community policing evolved,” said Baines, a former Fresno police officer and city councilman. “It was an amazing story of trial and error. He was doing this with police departments more than 30 years ago, and it was very unpopular with the departments. He was such a visionary developing what now is considered the standard in policing.”

Beginning as a patrol officer in San Jose, Brown went on to lead police departments in Atlanta, Houston, and New York City. He also served as President Clinton’s drug czar and is a former three-term mayor of Houston.

As public safety commissioner of Atlanta from 1978 to 1982, Brown and his staff oversaw the investigation of the Atlanta Child Murders case and increased the hiring of African American officers. He resigned that position to become Houston’s first African American police chief. While in Houston, Brown implemented community policing.

In the late 1980s, Brown entered politics and became Houston’s first African American mayor.

Police Reform Commission Members Announced

Fresno Mayor Lee Brown and other city officials announced the names of the reform commission’s 37 members at a 2 p.m. news conference today at City Hall.

The commission includes residents, advocates, and experts on public safety and community policing. It is tasked with making reform recommendations to the Fresno City Council within 90 days.

“This task force is made up of leaders from a diverse collection of stakeholder communities and will put their voices at the center of our in-depth and vital conversations about the future of policing in the city of Fresno,” said Fresno Mayor Lee Brand. ‘’The focus of our discussions will be centered on developing solutions for real and sustained change that make Fresno a better, safer place for all.”

Council president Miguel Arias said, While this commission’s work will be extremely difficult, our community deserves nothing less than our best collaboration. The commission is representative of our diversity and the communities most impacted by public safety. We are honored that they have accepted the call to serve as we take action to improve public safety for our whole city.”

Commission Members

Oliver Baines, chair

D’Aungillique Jackson – president, Fresno State NAACP

Sandra Celedon, executive director, Fresno Building Healthy Communities

Greg Garner, retired Selma police chief

Mariah Thompson, National Lawyers Guild

Todd Frazier, president, Fresno Police Officers Association

Aaron Foster, Faith in the Valley

Ron Manning, sergeant, Fresno Police Department

Bob Mitchell, community leader

Ashley Rojas, executive director, Fresno Barrios Unidos

Michael S. Reid JD, MBA, deputy chief, Fresno Police Department

Luisa Medina, community member

Scott Baly, Fresno County Public Defender’s Office

Angie Isaak, retired Fresno Police Officer

Dr. Joseph Jones, president, Fresno Pacific University

Deep Singh, Jakara Movement

Efrain Botello, Boys and Men of Color

Mark Salazar, captain, Fresno Police Department

Brian King, Fresno EOC Street Saints

Annalisa Perea, trustee, State Center Community College

Dr. James Pitts, Fresno State Criminology professor

Gloria Hernandez, community advocate

Mai Thao, civic engagement director, Hmong Innovating Politics

Grisanti Valencia, Youth Organize California

Pastor DJ Criner, Saint Rest Baptist Church

Pastor BT Lewis, Rising Star Church

Keisha Thomas, trustee, Fresno Unified School District

Veva Islas, trustee, Fresno Unified School District

Marcel Woodruff, Faith in the Valley

Phil Cooley, deputy chief, Fresno Police Department

Adrian Jones, chair, Fresno Housing Authority

Brandon Dixon-James, financial advisor

Rev. Simon Biasell, Woven Community, Westminster Presbyterian Church

Rod Wade Jr., United Fresno

John Leal, trustee, State Center Community College District

Gail Gaston, community advocate

Robert H. Oliver, retired judge

 

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Bill McEwen,
News Director
Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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