Q&A: Milford Police Chief Kenneth Brown

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Chief Kenneth Brown was sworn into office on Monday, Jan. 11 during the Milford City Council meeting. He is joined by his fiancee, children and Mayor Bryan Shupe who officiated the oath of office. The Chronicle/Jennifer Antonik

Name: Kenneth Brown

Age: 53

Originally from: Milford

Current Rank: Captain

New Rank: Police Chief, Milford

Years of policing experience: 28

 

Why did you choose to apply in Milford?

“Most police applicants, and it’s not a fault by no means, they want to do the job and most times they don’t care where it is. They just want to do this work. It shows their commitment in wanting to do the job. But I never applied to anywhere but Milford. But my heart has always been here in Milford. I think that will allow me to do a good job. I hope so.”

How did you get started in police work?

“I took tests and failed. I applied and didn’t get call backs. But finally, Chief Carmean joked with my dad that he got tired of seeing me fail the tests so he hired me.”

“I was born and raised here. My dad was a cop here when I was 8-years-old. We lived beside a police chief. So I had a lot of Milford police influences and positive influences in my life to do this job. All those influences made me always desire to do this job. Even as a child, my life was here. I hope it always will be. I’m here to stay.”

Tell us about your training:

“I started in 1985 as part time dispatcher. I did that for two and a half years before they sent me to the academy in March of 1988. I was a detective for most of my career here. Each rank kind of builds upon training. I also went to a police executive training program out of Penn State for two weeks. But there’s been steps along the way and of course 30 years of being here with seven years on the staff itself.”

What are your goals as police chief in Milford?

“The biggest thing is to continue upon what we’ve already been doing with the community relationship because we’ve done a lot of good things. In today’s environment, it’s just rough right now. I want to try to get ahead of any of those problems before they happen here. Just building this overall good relationship with the community is at the forefront of what I want to do. We’ll do that in several ways. I’m going to be seen in public. Whether that be walking around in the neighborhoods or going to events and two: we’re going to be encouraging the officers to be out of the car more. That’s a little tough right now because we’ll be down by six officers when Chief Hudson leaves. But once we get that fixed, I’ll be evaluating our evaluation system for the officers and including more credit to foot patrol. They’ll know this must mean a lot because it counts for a lot.”

What do you see as a struggle as you look ahead?

“I want to be upfront with them [the community] and let them know about things such as body cameras. Right now, we don’t have them [in use].The attorney general has asked us not to use them until the pilot program is finished. But there are limitations to the cameras. I want to be able to go out to the community to anybody who will listen really to tell them about those limitations before there’s an incident. Because whatever we saw as far as why they didn’t work right in certain circumstances will be seen as excuses rather than limitations if we don’t deal with it head on.”

When it comes to your new role, what excites you most?

“The interaction with the public. In my role so far, my interaction has been through crime or some incident. Now, I’ll have the opportunity to deal with the entire community in a positive way. I’ll be able to interact with them and try to do the right thing for them. And at the same time, I’ll be working with the men and women in this department and being their advocate in the [city] council to make sure they have what they need to do their job.”

When do you plan on retiring?

“I’m hoping to be here as long as I’m healthy and able to work. And also still have a lot of enthusiasm to do that job. I plan on making sure that there’s a person ready to take my place if at any point I am unable to do my job. That’s very important.”

What does your family think about the promotion?

“My fiancée, I know she’s very elated by it. She’s put up with a lot from me just because of my nerves and tensions and struggles with going through the process. This went through a nationwide search, so she went through me being stressed for several months. I think she’s very relieved that that’s over. I know I am.”

Tell us one of the first things the department will do with you at its helm?

“Promotions. There will be a lot soon. I want to get our rank structure filled and get the amount of people we’re supposed to have. They [the officers] are going to be more excited and happy. Hopefully that gets noticed by the public. It should translate in more pleasant interactions with the public.”

Jennifer Antonik can be reached at mc@newszap.com

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