By Jessica Langston
There’s a new chief in town -- well, he’s been in town since 1990 when he moved here from the Birmingham area. The promotion looks good on Interim Police Chief Steve Brown who had served previously as Assistant Chief under Joe Fierro.
Brown began his law enforcement career in the mid 1980s when he became a law enforcement explorer at age 19. He said only one of his family members was a policeman, but he had worked in a sporting goods store during his teenage years, and the firearms section attracted lots of policemen.
“I always wanted to be a policeman,” he recalled. “I knew that’s what I wanted to do -- I felt like that’s what I was called to do.”
Brown moved up the chain to become a radio operator and corrections officer. Moving to Baldwin County in 1990 to be close to his parents, he worked at the Gulf Shores Police Department and Robertsdale Police Department, and as a reserve officer and part-time communications officer at the Orange Beach Police Department. He graduated from the Police Academy at Faulkner in 1995.
Brown came on full time with the Orange Beach Police Department in the patrol division under Chief Robert Vincent in April of 1995. He was promoted to Corporal and entered the investigations unit, then worked in the drug task force of Baldwin County for a year and a half. He returned to criminal investigations and was promoted to Sergeant.
Brown said that he loved working in investigations because he liked, “helping them (victims) through difficult times and working toward making them whole again, or helping them navigate the justice system.”
In 2006, Brown was promoted to Lieutenant. He attended Section 256 of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., graduating in 2014. He earned the title of assistant chief in December of 2017. He was appointed interim chief of police in early December 2019.
“Now it allows me more opportunity to interact with employees in the department and ensure they have a quality work environment and a good place to be,” he said. “As new employees come into the police department, they grow and I start positioning people that will, down the road, be ready to take my place. My mindset has shifted. Six, seven, eight years ago, that wasn’t where my mind was. But we’ve got to position people to carry on in the best interest of the city and the citizens.”
"Steve Brown is a man of strong character and integrity which is key in leading one of Orange Beach's most critical departments. His experience and can do attitude are evident as he helps guide us through this current pandemic crisis as well as how we were handling an unprecedented 2020 Spring Break season with all high schools and colleges out at the same time prior to closing the beaches," adds Ken Grimes, City Administrator.
He is married to Osa Brown, and has four children--one of which is local celebrity Shelby Brown who made it through to the top nine on NBC’s singing competition television show, “The Voice”, in 2015.
Brown said Shelby got her love of singing from him. He never took a professional interest, but used to sing at many local establishments during his younger years, he said.
Nowadays, he enjoys hunting and freshwater fishing, and spending time with his grandchildren. But he said he has no intention of retiring anytime soon, because what he really loves to do is serve the people of Orange Beach.
“I’m here because I want to be here,” he said. “I could retire anytime, but I want to work here and serve the citizens."