Chief Kenneth Brown, who took the job as Milford’s police chief in January 2016, has announced he will step down as of August 1. Chief Brown took over the department after the retirement of Chief E. Keith Hudson who served as chief since 2002.
“Last year, I got married and my wife has a funeral home down in Laurel,” Chief Brown said. “She’s become quite busy and she doesn’t really have any help administratively. I’ve been toying with the idea of retiring, but I was trying to get through the new building, to wait for that to happen and get us moved in. Over the weekend, we just sat down and had a conversation about it and felt it was just the best way forward for us. I can unload some of my pressures and help her unload some of hers.”
Chief Brown started with the Milford Police Department as an officer in March 1988. He explained that he never wanted to be an officer anywhere else. The only time he ever applied to another department was during a period when Milford was only hiring certified officers. A then-lieutenant with Milford suggested that Chief Brown apply elsewhere in order to get certified, so he put in an application with Harrington, but he never accepted a position with them. He was offered a position with Milford and has remained with them ever since.
“Probably the most rewarding part of my job is also the most challenging,” Chief Brown said. “That is the social reform that is happening today. It has created a lot of stress, but it also has had a lot of impact. I ended up getting on the board for the state chiefs which allowed me some influence in making changes throughout the state. It’s been very rewarding.”
Chief Brown stated that changes in how police officers interact with the community added stress to his job, but he also found that handling new officers today was much different than the way they were handled when he started on the force.
“There is a different mindset in the younger generation,” Chief Brown said. “That has its challenges as well. It is tough for somebody of my generation to effectively deal with some of those issues.”
Milford Police Department is also credited with some firsts in the state and Chief Brown is proud to have been part of that. Although Milford was not the first department to deploy body cameras, it was one of the first to use them throughout the entire department.
“That was the first thing I did,” Chief Brown said. “It wasn’t as big a topic as it is today, so to have council fully fund that was just amazing because there are huge costs and still are. It is not a one time cost, it is a forever cost. We have to pay for storage of all of that evidence. People don’t understand that those videos are evidence and we have to keep them for so many years.”
Another program Chief Brown is proud of is the implementation of the Behavioral Health Unit, although he credits Councilman Jason James with spearheading that program.
“I think we were definitely up front on that,” Chief Brown said. “I had been looking into it but never thought I would just be able to get it and when he brought up the idea, I was like “Okay, now we got somebody serious about it”. So we ran with this, we took off running with that and got it done pretty quick.”
Chief Brown also credits a supportive council with his success, stating that he could not have accomplished what he did without their support. His advice for his successor is that they continue to do the things he started and that they stay at the forefront of everything. He also suggested that he continue to build a good rapport with members of council.
“Quite honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been told no by the council. Of course, I didn’t bug them with every little thing either,” Chief Brown said. “You know, if I came in there and asked for something, we’ve done our homework and know that’s what we need and this is what it’s going to cost and all that, so thankfully they’ve always agreed. Anyone that follows me needs to understand that if you do it right, they support what you do.”
As for leisure time in his retirement. Chief Brown stated that as busy as his wife’s business was, he doubted there would be much leisure time. However, once he made the decision to retire, he felt a great weight lift from his shoulders. He still plans to live in Milford, so he will be around at events and festivals, but he is looking forward to less pressure after August 1.
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