Trend Toward Openness

RIOC's Changing Face Starts with Kevin Brown

Updated 5 weeks ago David Stone
Retiring PSD Chief Jack McManus hands off to Kevin Brown.
Retiring PSD Chief Jack McManus hands off to Kevin Brown.
Photo courtesy of Frank Farance.

Reading a profile RIOC's Acting PSD Chief Kevin Brown, posted on RIOC's website, I felt surprise, immediately wondering, How could this young man be 55? My second thought was more important: RIOC's opening up in ways we haven't seen in recent memory.

It feels like ancient history now.

Roughly eight years ago, during Leslie Torres's troubled reign as RIOC President, Main Street WIRE editor Dick Lutz and I came up with a scheme to reduce community tensions by publishing a series of profiles of PSD officers.

The idea, as I explained to Chief Keith Guerra, with whom I then had an easy relationship, was to present the officers as regular, everyday people like those they reacted with on Main Street.

But it never got far from Guerra's desk.

Members of the community, he and his staff feared, would use the information to tag officers with abuse complaints. 

Not one of them ever came forward for an interview.

So, I was caught off guard when RIOC posted an interview with Acting Chief Kevin Brown, conducted by community liaisons Jessica Murray and Erica Spencer-EL, on its website. Spencer-EL and Murray deftly led Brown through a series of questions that allowed him to paint a self-portrait both disarming and informative.

In the interview, we get Brown's background in law enforcement as well as the story of how his relationship with retiring Chief Jack McManus, developed during 9/11 recovery efforts, brought him to Roosevelt Island in 2016. More important, we also get a genuine picture of the man and his values.

It's a new twist with RIOC that signals a more relaxed, less defensive point of view at 591 Main Street. Improved community relations are always a step in the right direction.

Get to know Kevin Brown: Read the complete interview here.

 

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