(RALIEGH, N.C.) -- After fighting crime in Raleigh for most of his adult life, it's understandable that Police Chief Mitch Brown would be ready for retirement at age 51. His predecessor, Fred Heineman, once called Brown a "100 percent cop." A cop is all he ever wanted to be, and from the time he got out of the Army in 1972, a cop is all he was. Devotion to duty earned Brown the top brass' respect at a time when few African-Americans were among them. Brown in 1990 became the first black officer in the city to wear a major's badge. When Heineman stepped down to run for Congress four years later, Brown stepped up. He led the Triangle on a wave of community policing fervor. First, Brown set up police substations in the Halifax Court and Heritage Park public housing complexes, which saw crime drop by double-digit percentages within seven months. The following year, he placed substations at Walnut Terrace and Chavis Heights, where he had lived as a child. These moves have been widely credited with making parts of the city safer places to live. Brown's successor will have to continue those efforts, and to carry on a push for a better-paid force of professionals. The next chief also may need to seek a higher profile than Brown, who preferred to stay behind the scenes. If citizens were stockholders, though, the people of Raleigh would be thanking Mitch Brown for their dividends.
A '100 Percent Cop' December 2, 2000 Saturday, Final Edition Copyright 2000 The News And Observer The News And Observer (Raleigh, NC) December 2, 2000 Saturday, Final Edition Terms and Conditions Copyright(c) 2000 LEXIS-NEXIS, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights Reserved.