Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown is retiring, the city announced Friday morning. His last day at work is June 25.
“This has been a difficult decision for me because I am so proud of the many commendable efforts within the Alexandria Police Department at this time,” Brown said in a statement. “I am making this decision based upon several changing family priorities. It is very important for me to give these priorities the attention they are due.”
City Manager Mark Jinks, who has hinted of his own retirement, hired Brown in January 2017. An acting chief will be chosen by Jinks in the coming days.
“I want to thank Chief Brown for his many initiatives in addressing 21st-century policing opportunities in the Alexandria Police Department,” said City Manager Mark Jinks. “Continuous improvement is a value of our City government and Chief Brown embraced that value wholeheartedly, to the benefit of Alexandria residents and businesses. He provided solid leadership through challenging times for policing and worked to build trust in the community.”
Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson said he appreciated Brown’s leadership during a difficult period.
“I have appreciated Chief Brown’s leadership during a tumultuous and transitional time in policing,” Wilson said. “We will miss him. We are fortunate to have a capable, professional and dedicated Police Department. I am confident they will continue their exemplary work in keeping our community safe as we work to complete a national search to choose the next leader to move the Department forward.”
Brown, who began his career as a police officer in Los Angeles in 1977, worked his way up to being the Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol from 2004-2008, and was California’s deputy secretary for public safety from 2008 to 2009. He moved to Alexandria in 2010, and for six years was the director of the Office of Impaired Driving and Occupant Protection at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Brown took over from acting Chief David Huchler, who took over for three months after the retirement of Chief Earl L. Cook.
Brown was significantly challenged five months after taking office with the Simpson Field Shooting. Five people were shot in that incident, including then-House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.).
Brown led the police department through a restructuring, as well as social unrest after the 2020 murder of George Floyd, the COVID-19 pandemic, and an uptick in shooting events and other crime throughout the city.