After serving with the UC Irvine Police Department for five years, Chief of Police Al Brown has announced his decision to retire at the end of this academic year.
Brown, who also worked at the UCLA Police Department for 27 years before coming to UCI, said that his decision to retire is strictly a matter of practicality.
‘Fortunately, or unfortunately, for the police officers in the UC … we have a different retirement system where, if you reach a certain age and work for a certain time, your benefits increase,’ Brown said. ‘I’m currently working at about 98 percent of my base salary, so essentially what that means is that I’m paying the university to go to work. If I stayed past July, I would be maxed out at 102 percent.’
Brown officially announced his retirement in February 2005. Since then, a search committee headed by Jim Hay, director of buildings and grounds for the facilities management department, has been formed to choose Brown’s replacement from a national group of candidates.
According to Elaine Peters, employment manager for UCI’s Department of Human Resources, the search for Brown’s replacement is a joint effort between the UCIPD and the campus administration.
‘The UCIPD has worked closely with [the Department of] Human Resources to develop a recruitment strategy for filling this position,’ Peters said.
She added that the search committee has already ‘reviewed all of the candidates’ credentials and is ready to meet and … determine [which] candidates to bring in for interviews.’
The pool of candidates, which initially consisted of about 35 people according to Brown’s estimate, will gradually be narrowed down to three.
‘The last three candidates will be presented to the university to be evaluated,’ Brown said. ‘There will be a public forum on campus’ at which the candidates will field questions from the general campus community.
Peters added, ‘Finalists will also meet personally with Chief Al Brown, [Associate Vice Chancellor for Administrative and Business Services] Dave Tomcheck, the campus police department personnel and other key campus personnel. … We anticipate the new chief to accept the position in July or August.’
According to the job announcement, which can be found through the UCIPD Web site, the police chief’s role is to ‘oversee the administration of aproximately 75 emplyees, including 28 sworn officers and approximately 30 part-time student employees,’ and to manage ‘a budget of $3.5 million and equipment valued at just over $1 million.’
The search committee is looking for candidates who, among other requirements, have ‘at least 10 years of increasingly responsible law enforcement experience and at least five years of management and administrative responsibility,’ according to the job announcement.
Moreover, it is ‘desirable’ for candidates to have experience at ‘policing at an institution of higher education with shared governance between campus constituents.’
It is this kind of exposure to a university atmosphere that Brown himself especially wishes to see in the next chief of police.
‘As a chief of police, you kind of set the tone for your agency, and hopefully over the years I’ve set the tone for officers to be more involved in the community’ Brown said. ‘I look for a person who will show me a history of being involved in a community, a history of being part of a team and working together, and they have to show me that they really like people.’
Brown, a self-described ‘people person,’ admitted that what he will miss most from his time at UCI is the relationships he has formed with members of the campus community.
‘I didn’t get into law enforcement to hook-and-book the world,’ Brown said. ‘I wanted to influence people to do the right thing by being part of the community. I feel I’ve been able to achieve that at UCI. And I hope that the person who replaces me has the same compassion to become involved in the community, to make the students feel that they can not be harassed by the officers on this campus.’
With his tenure as police chief nearing an end, Brown is looking forward to spending a year traveling and visiting family.
‘After one year, I plan to get back into some type of part-time employment,’ Brown said. ‘I’m a high-energy type person.’
He plans to start a business that will perform ‘background investigation for police officers and security in universities and colleges. That’s something I don’t think has been tapped into yet.’
Brown is sorry to leave the UCIPD, but feels that his retirement is a well-earned compensation for a life spent in service.
‘I’ve been working since I was 14 years of age. I did two tours in Vietnam and four years in the Marine Corps prior to getting into law enforcement, so I’ve been around for a while,’ Brown said. ‘Being 56 now, it’s time to go.’
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