Gary A. Brown was elected as Detroit City Council President Pro Tem on November 4, 2009, after receiving the second-highest number of votes. He is serving a four-year term. With a proven track record of integrity, visionary leadership and nearly 30 years of service to Detroiters, his focus is on improving public safety, enhancing education and balancing the budget.
President Pro Tem Brown serves as the Chair of the Public Health and Safety Standing Committee which oversees police, fire, EMS, dangerous buildings, water and sewerage, health services, and transportation. He represents the Detroit City Council as a board member of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), the Detroit Historical Society, and the Eastern Market District. In March 2011, Brown was appointed by the National League of Cities to its Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Advocacy Committee.
During his first year in office, President Pro Tem Brown worked with his colleagues to restore unity and order to Detroit City Council to address the city’s most urgent challenges. He collaborated with the administration to improve public safety by leading the charge to pass and adopt the Secondary Employment program ordinance, allowing off-duty police officers to work private security in order to increase police presence without added cost to the city. Brown also worked with the administration to fast-track the vacant housing demolition program. He is a fiscal conservative, leading the charge to reduce the annual budget and structural deficit, and urging contractors to reduce their costs.
As an advocate for education, President Pro Tem Brown adopted Bethune Fitzgerald Academy on Detroit’s northwest side in the fall of 2010. His goal is to improve the environment in and around the school in order for the teachers and staff to focus on academics, as well as lead a pilot reading program. Brown’s ultimate goal is to create an Adopt-A-School model that leaders – both in business and government – can emulate in other public schools around the city. Previous to serving on City Council, Brown was a volunteer lecturer at Detroit’s Barsemian High School co-teaching a 90-minute seminar on “Violence Prevention” for several years
President Pro Tem Brown has a proven track record of being able to work with community organizations, the business and private sectors, as well as civic groups to build strategies that empower citizens to take charge of their own destinies and reclaim their neighborhoods. He has served on numerous boards and formerly led his neighborhood association’s vacant house committee. Brown is extremely proud of the cooperative partnerships that have been built involving community outreach during his tenure on these boards.
President Pro Tem was born and raised in Detroit. He is a graduate of Northwestern High School. While in high school, Brown started out as a bagger at a Farmer Jack supermarket in Detroit. Proving his leadership abilities, he quickly ascended to become the assistant manager of a store generating $10 Million in annual revenue.
Shortly after graduation, President Pro Tem Brown entered the United States Marine Corps, and within two short years, received three meritorious promotions. After being honorably discharged, he attended Wayne State University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.
In 1977, President Pro Tem Brown joined the Detroit Police Department (DPD) and was selected president of his recruit class. During his 26 years of service with the DPD, he rose through the ranks with honor and distinction. Brown served the community as Commander of the 1st, 3rd, 9th and 11th Precincts, and he also provided executive direction in a variety of critical areas, including Gang Squad, Narcotics and Internal Affairs. At the time of his retirement, he had attained the rank of Deputy Police Chief. One of his proudest accomplishments was being the first African-American to receive the highest score on the Police Lieutenant's Promotional Examination. While serving with the Detroit Police Department, Brown received numerous letters of commendation, awards and certificates.
In addition, President Pro Tem Brown earned a Master's of Science degree from Eastern Michigan University and attended the FBI National Academy, as well as Northwestern University's Staff and Command.
He is married to Sherri and together they have two adult children, a third daughter currently attending Howard University, and four grandchildren.