Michael L. “Mike” Brown has nearly 46 years of public service and nearly four decades of experience in law enforcement, safety oversight, and public policy. He was appointed at the Chief of the Alexandria Police Department in January 2017. The Alexandria Police Department is a full-service police agency consisting of 420 total staff position with 307 of them being sworn personnel. He retired from this position in 2021.
Since 2010 until his appointment as Chief in Alexandria, Brown served as Director of the Office of Impaired Driving and Occupant Protection at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), where is he responsible for the development and implementation of national traffic safety policy and best practices. During his time at NHTSA, he has also served as Acting Associate Administrator for Research and Program Development and Acting Director of the Office of Emergency Medical Services and Office of Defect Investigation.
Prior to his NHTSA work, Brown rose through the ranks of the California Highway Patrol (CHP), starting as an Officer in Los Angeles in 1977 and culminating in his appointment as Commissioner from 2004 to 2008. He previously served as Chief of the Southern Division covering all of Los Angeles and Protective Services Division which included Dignitary Protection for the entire state and Assistant Chief in Northern Division which covered Northern California, after promotions to Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain.
These assignments included serving the San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Jose, and San Francisco Bay Area. As Commissioner, he led one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the United States, with approximately 7,900 sworn personnel, 3,100 civilian staff, over 100 field offices, and a budget of $1.8 billion at the time of Brown’s tenure as Commissioner.
From 2008 to 2009, Brown served as the Deputy Secretary for Public Safety at California’s Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency. As such, he advised the Agency Secretary and the Administration on public safety issues involving the Agency and its departments. He has worked on the state’s strategic highway safety plans, emergency planning, homeland security, goods movement activities and other issues in this capacity.
Brown is an Executive Fellow of the National Policing Institute and serves on the Law Enforcement Committee of the Transportation Research Board. He has also served as an instructor for nearly a dozen training programs for CHP, and as an adjunct professor for California State University, Sacramento. He has also participated in a number of state and national task forces on such issues as police pursuits, homeland security, traffic safety, emergency planning, enforcement technology, and federal transportation issues.
Brown is a graduate of the California State University, Sacramento with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. He has a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Los Angeles, and one in Management from Cal Poly, Pomona. Mike Brown also earned his Doctorate in Criminology, Law, and Society from George Mason University. He is a graduate of the California Peace Officers Standards and Training Command College and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy and National Executive Institute.
Brown has been honored dozens of times by his profession and the communities he has served, including recognition as the law enforcement officer of the year at various times by the California Peace Officers Association, the Los Angeles Jewish Community, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement.
Brown lives in Washington state with his wife, Kirsten Knapp, who was a Police Officer with Fairfax County (VA) Police Department and was a Deputy Sheriff with the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office.