March 12, 2004
Heart Attack Likely Cause of N.J. Officer's Death
Officer Down: Sgt. Ken Brown - [Atlantic City, New Jersey]
By Bridget Murphy, The Press
Atlantic City, N.J. -- Despite intervention by a citizen who picked
up Sgt. Ken Brown's radio and called for help, the 27-year Police
Department veteran died in the line of duty after a suspected heart
attack in his patrol car Wednesday.
Brown, a 52-year-old father of six who lived in Galloway Township,
had a minor car accident in front of police headquarters at
California and Atlantic avenues at 9:18 p.m. as he returned to the
building to do paperwork following a fight and two arrests at the
high school, authorities said Thursday.
An unidentified citizen found Brown in the car, with a door open, and
used his radio to call for help, Police Chief Arthur Snellbaker said.
But the sergeant could not be revived after authorities took him to
the Atlantic City Medical Center, City Division, police said.
Authorities said they do not believe Brown's role in breaking up the
fight at the high school was related to his death. The fight broke
during a high school basketball game in which Lenape was playing
Pennsauken in a state Group IV semifinal.
Police arrested two boys on charges of assault and disorderly conduct
and one person went to the hospital to be checked for a jaw injury,
Lt. Michael Tullio said.
Brown, whose wife of 16 years works in the city's communications
bureau, became a sergeant in 2001 and served in many Police
Department units during his career, including as a detective and a
He also served in the Army National Guard.
Brown made national news in December when he signed complaints
against two cable TV installers who allegedly tied a cat to the back
of a truck and dragged it along Route 30. Brown was off-duty at the
time he witnessed the incident and used his department radio to call
for a patrol car to stop the suspects.
When an examination of the animal's corpse later showed it was dead
before it was tied to the bumper, authorities dismissed charges
against one suspect and downgraded charges the other faced.
Snellbaker remembered Brown on Thursday as someone who not only knew
how to look stylish on the golf course, but as someone who had a
sense of fair play at work.
The chief recalled picking another candidate over Brown for a
promotion at one point, and said that Brown never held a grudge
against him for it.
"He didn't have a problem with being treated fairly," the chief said.
"He was a good policeman, and that will be his legacy."
Snellbaker, who survived two heart attacks himself, said he spoke to
Mayor Lorenzo Langford about starting a police wellness program in
the wake of Brown's death.
A member of the county prosecutor's Major Crime Unit volunteered
Thursday to witness Brown's autopsy - which will determine the
sergeant's exact cause of death - to spare his Police Department
colleagues from what would have been a difficult assignment, Public
Safety Director Bob Flipping said.
Brown's viewing will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday and from 10
a.m. to noon Monday at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Roman Catholic
Church at Tennessee and Pacific avenues. The funeral will follow