Lee P. Brown enjoyed a stellar career in law enforcement, leading the cities of Atlanta, New York and Houston to lowered crime rates with an emphasis on community policing.Dr. Brown made history in 1997 by becoming Houston’s first Black mayor, serving in the post for three terms.
The 77-year-old Brown was born in Oklahoma but raised primarily in California, where his parents worked as farmers as part of the Great Migration. A standout high school football player, Brown earned a scholarship to attend Fresno State University and earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in criminology and sociology.
In 1960, Brown joined the San Jose Police force, and was the head of its union in 1965. After a stint as an assistant professor at San Jose State University, Brown earned a second master’s in criminology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1968.
Two years later, Brown earned a doctorate of criminology from the school. In 1972, Brown became the associate director of the Institute of Urban Affairs and Research and professor of Public Administration and director of Criminal Justice programs at Howard University. Police work called Brown two years later, and he served as Sheriff of Multnomah County in Oregon until 1976.