Dallas Police Chief David Brown to receive 2017 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award

Dallas Police Chief David Brown to receive the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award from SMU's Maguire Ethics Center.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown
David O. Brown
Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown

DALLAS (SMU)Dallas Chief of Police David O. Brown, who in July helped lead the city through the anguished days following the ambush shooting deaths of five police officers will receive the 2017 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award from SMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility at a luncheon on March 21, 2017, at the Belo Mansion.

“Chief David Brown has demonstrated by his words and his actions all of the leadership qualities we had in mind when the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award was created,” said Bobby Lyle, SMU Trustee and Maguire Ethics Center board member. “He has led our community with courage and integrity during our brightest days and our darkest hours. He has set standards for public and community service that we would all do well to emulate. I can think of no one more deserving of this prestigious award that bears the name of one of Dallas’ most admired leaders.”

Brown, a Dallas native who was born and raised in South Oak Cliff, is a 33-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department and the department’s longest-serving chief in modern times. He was sworn in as Dallas’ 28th police chief in May 2010, commanding a department with more than 4,000 employees and an annual operating budget of $426 million dollars. Brown has announced he will retire Oct. 4.

Building and maintaining strong, transparent relationships with the community has been Brown’s focus since he took the top position. During his tenure, Brown transitioned the department to a community-policing focused organization and implemented policies and training to ensure citizen and officer safety. He also expanded several community outreach programs and youth centered programs.

Brown implemented policies and training to ensure citizen and officer safety during interactions, and emphasized the importance of de-escalation training for his officers. Under Brown’s leadership, the Dallas Police Department reduced the use of deadly force by more than 40 percent and reduced excessive force complaints by more than 80 percent.

“This award recognizes those who face hard decisions and whose mettle is tested,” said Rita Kirk, Director of SMU’s Maguire Ethics Center. “Chief Brown personifies the struggle of leaders trying to do the right thing during periods of intense pressure. Our community is stronger because of his leadership, particularly in the wake of recent events. His actions during those days not only reflected the character of our community to other cities around the world who watched, but also left us united, stronger, and more hopeful that we will overcome any obstacle to make this a better city for all our citizens.”

Brown joined the department as a police officer in 1983. Before taking over as chief, he was named first assistant police chief under Chief David Kunkle in 2005, and then named as interim Dallas assistant city manager in 2007. In that position he directed operations in the areas of Code Compliance, Environmental & Health Services, Equipment & Building Services, Library Services, Park & Recreation, and Cultural Affairs.

Brown holds both a Bachelor of Science and Master's (MBA) in Business Administration. He is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy, FBI National Executive Institute, Senior Management Institute for Police, the National Counter-Terrorism Seminar in Tel Aviv, Israel and the United States Secret Service Dignitary Protection Seminar in Washington, D.C. Chief Brown also holds Master Peace Officer and Police Instructor certifications from the State of Texas.

Past recipients of the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award include Terry J. Flowers, Lyda Hill, Gail Griffin Thomas, Nancy Ann & Ray Hunt, Walter J. Humann, Ruth S. Altshuler, Bob Buford, Ronald G. Steinhart, Michael M. Boone, Zan W. Holmes Jr., Roger Staubach, Caren Prothro, Tom Luce, Ron Anderson, Jack Lowe Jr., William T. Solomon, Stanley H. Marcus, Charles C. Sprague and Curtis W. Meadows Jr.

Brown will be the 20th recipient of the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award. Tables and individual tickets are available for purchase at smu.edu/ethics. All proceeds benefit SMU’s Maguire Ethics Center, a nonprofit educational organization.



The Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility is a University-wide center supporting student and faculty ethics-related education and activities, as well as community outreach to private and public institutions in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The Maguire Ethics Center serves as a forum for the exploration of issues bearing on the public good. It also seeks to challenge and encourage the development of ethical discernment, imagination and action. It brings together those who confront issues of social importance with resources and opportunities for ethical reflection. For more information, visit smu.edu/ethics.


The J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award is named in honor of the public-spirited former mayor of Dallas.It is given to individuals who personify the spirit of moral leadership and public virtue. The Maguire Ethics Center is proud to present this award to people whose careers should be recognized, honored and modeled.

J. Erik Jonsson was a founder of Texas Instruments, a strong advocate for education, and as mayor of Dallas from 1964 to 1971, worked to improve morale and the image of the city after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He pushed through a $175 million bond election that financed a new city hall, the Dallas Convention Center and the Dallas Central Library, and was a driving force in the development of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. For more, visit smu.edu/provost/ethics/events/ethics award.

SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls approximately 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.



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