NEWBERRY — With one month under his belt, Newberry Police Chief Dennis Brown said he is making strides and getting to know his community.
Brown said his 90-day plan includes becoming highly visible in the public, including meeting those who live in the city and getting to know them better.
“I want to meet as many people as I can to see where we’re at and where we can help go forward as a department,” Brown said. “We have a very good and professional staff which have embraced additional community outreach ideas with vigor. Our staff has been welcoming and patient as I learn Newberry and how the department operates.”
Brown, a native of Thomasville, N.C., said former Chief Jackie Swindler built an amazing department.
“It’s now my job to build on the things we’re already doing,” he said.
To build the relationships between the police department and the community, Brown said his goal is to meet with the community leaders and address their concerns. He wants a plan to keep the community and neighborhoods safer.
“We’ve (department) won numerous awards for safety. We want to continue to keep the streets as safe as possible,” he said.
Currently, Brown said one of the most difficult parts of the job is the separation from his wife, Amanda, and children, Ronan, 2, and twins Clover and Eden, who are about 6 months old. Brown’s wife currently serves on the Charleston County Constituent’s School Board. She and the children are still in Folly Beach, where he was police chief before coming to Newberry, where they will remain until their house sells.
The benefits of being police chief in a small town like Newberry is that you can maximize the impact on the community and the department, he said. The different emergency departments in Folly Beach were much larger than in Newberry and he found he was tied to his office more than he liked to be.
Brown said he and his wife were looking for a place to raise their family and become active members of the community.
“It was hands down the best choice because it (Newberry) did offer everything we were looking for,” he said.
After graduating from high school, he attended Pfeiffer College in Misenheimer, N.C., where he studied criminal justice. He graduated in 1996 and got an internship with the Thomasville Police Department. He went through police training and worked there until 1997. In 2008, Brown received a master’s degree from East Carolina.
From 1997-2005, Brown worked for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office where he was a road deputy, field training officer, worked in Family Services Division and was a patrol sergeant.
Brown then served as the director of public safety at Winston-Salem’s Salem Academy and College, which had an academy for grades 9 to 12. “It was a fantastic opportunity and place to work,” he said.
Brown said that experience gave him an understanding of how colleges work, which will help him in Newberry with Newberry College and Piedmont Technical College being an integral part of the community.
Brown and his wife moved to New England around 2007 where he was a police chief until 2011, the year they moved to Folly Beach.
“We had traveled there before and found it to be some of the prettiest county we had ever seen,” Brown said. “It was a wonderful opportunity to live in that environment.”
Then came the move to Newberry, which Brown said has made him and his family feel at home.
“The residents of Newberry have lived up to their creed of friendly folks,” Brown said. “They have made my family feel at home. I could not have asked for a better first month. “
Brown said he wants every resident to know they are welcome to visit anytime, no appointments necessary.
“I may not be able to meet immediately, but I will get with you as soon as possible,” Brown said.
Brown can be reached at 803-321-1010 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.