Thursday, June 08, 2000

Police chief's era ends

Values guide Brown during Union Twp. career

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        UNION TOWNSHIP — On the wall across from the desk of the only police chief this Butler County community has known for 16 years is a large mirror.

        Since Lynn Brown became chief in 1984, the mirror has served to reinforce his leadership philosophy.

        “The key word is accountability,” said Chief Brown.

        For nearly 30 years Chief Brown has applied that iron-clad value to himself, his officers and the township's police department.

        The office mirror, he said recently as he pondered retirement, is a visual reminder to apply the same meticulous monitoring he uses on his officers to himself.

        “When you evaluate other people, you have to look in a mirror and evaluate yourself,” said the 64-year-old police chief, who is retiring Sept. 30.

        During his nearly three decades of policing in Union Township, Chief Brown has first watched, then guided the growth of a part-time police staff of 10 officers. Today 68 full-time officers supported by 12 communication officers and nine civilian employees protect the township.

        The township's annual police budget when he began in 1971 was less than $1 million; now it's more than $8 million.

        In the early 1970s, the still largely rural township's crimes mostly consisted of weekend bar fights and periodic cattle rustling.

        “We'd receive calls to get cows off the highway,” he said.

        The township has evolved during Chief Brown's career from those rural beginnings into a fast-growing population center now numbering more than 60,000.

        The increased residential and business density of the township, combined with antiquated, two-lane roads, has complicated the simple logistics of policing more than he ever imagined. “The problem today is that we can't always get from point A to point B in emergency time,” said the chief, who has lived in the township since 1964.

        Chief Brown is the first officer to rise to the top rank after serving his entire career on the township's police force.

        “He has taken the department from a three- or four-person department to one of the most respected police agencies around,” said township administrator David Gully.

        “He commands respect and sets the standard,” he said.


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