Sheriff Ed Brown: The Same Platform All These Years

By Sally Hansley Odum

Few people can say they’ve run and won an election for public office on the same platform for more than two decades. Sheriff Ed Brown can make that statement truthfully. I recently ran across a pamphlet Mr. Brown used for his first election as sheriff. The cover says “Elect Ed Brown ‘A Family Man’ for Onslow County Sheriff.”

Most people don’t realize that Sheriff Brown actually got his first taste of law enforcement in the Jacksonville Police Department back in 1967. He was there for 13 years and worked his way up from Patrolman to Detective Sgt. to Deputy Chief of Police. He was also Commander of the SWAT team for a while and trained at the FBI Academy at Quantico, VA.

After a brief stint in other employment, Brown soon realized that law enforcement was his life’s calling and he again heeded the call – this time to the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office. As he’d done in the police department, he worked his way up through the ranks to Detective Sergeant.  That was his title, when at age 45, he first ran for Sheriff of Onslow County and won.

Sheriff Brown said then, “I believe you (the citizens of Onslow County) deserve the best service possible and this can only be accomplished with honest, fair and trained employees. I believe all of us – citizens and law enforcement alike — must work together to solve our problems. I believe a major key to solving our problems is honest and fair treatment to everyone…I practice honest and fair treatment. I promise you, as your Sheriff, that same honest and fair treatment. Remember, no matter who you are, unfairness and injustice hurts. You and I can make it better.”

Now fast-forward to 2014 and you can see Mr. Brown’s advertisements or listen to his speeches and you will hear much the same language. In fact, here’s a recent quote – you can compare it to the one above from a couple of decades past: “As long as the Almighty God is for me to be sheriff, I will stand up for you, the Onslow County citizens,” for employees of the sheriff’s department and for “a professional law enforcement that all people can trust.”

Brown recently said, “My goal as your sheriff is to maintain and preserve the integrity of the law enforcement profession.” Brown also said that people in law enforcement must see all people as created equal regardless of race, nationality, gender, age or income.

In an age when people in the public eye are constantly “reinventing themselves,” it is refreshing to see that some things, such as a person’s character and life philosophy, remain constant. That’s not to say the Sheriff’s Department is behind-the-times in any way though. All of those in law enforcement have had to train and adapt right along with the rest of the modern world. In short, they have the most cutting-edge technology available and they are well-trained to use it.