Let us pause to remember our fallen hero Sergeant Joseph K. Brown Sr., lost this day in 1966.
Sergeant Brown was born on December 2, 1929, in Takoma Park. He was raised on his family's farm in what is now the 6800 block of New Hampshire Avenue. Sergeant Brown attended Mount Rainier High School and the University of Maryland before joining the United States Marine Corps. He served with honor and distinction, achieving the rank of sergeant while assigned to Camp Pendleton. Sergeant Brown briefly joined the Takoma Park Police Department at the beginning of 1958. On March 16, 1958, Sergeant Brown joined the Prince George's County Police Department, following in the footsteps of his father, Ralph W. Brown. His father was among the original members of the PGPD when it was formed in 1931. Ralph Brown rose through ranks and in 1943 was promoted to Chief of Police. Sergeant Brown was assigned to the Hyattsville station and promoted to the rank of sergeant in 1965.
On February 19, 1966, Sergeant Brown and two fellow officers responded to University Boulevard to serve an arrest warrant for indecent exposure. As the officers tried to initiate contact with the suspect, the man’s teenage son suddenly exited the apartment and got into a struggle with the officers.
As the officers tried to take the teen into custody, the original suspect exited the apartment and opened fire, hitting Sergeant Brown in the chest and wounding a second officer. Sergeant Brown died of his injuries at a hospital.
Sergeant Brown served the Prince George's County Police Department for eight years and was the fourth member of this agency to make the ultimate sacrifice. He was the fifth law enforcement officer to give his life while serving this profession within Prince George's County.
At the time of his death, Sergeant Joseph Brown was 36 years old and survived by his wife and son.