Robert D. Brown Jr. has been named Assistant City Manager for Duncanville, after serving 14 years as their Police Chief. Brown served as Interim Assistant City Manager since March 20, following the March 12 death of ACM Paul Frederiksen.
Duncanville City Manager Aretha R. Ferrell-Benavides said, “Given the extended period of challenges our organization has endured – from a pandemic to the most recent ice storm, transitions at the city manager level to the untimely passing of Assistant City Manager Paul Frederiksen – I felt it was imperative to bring in a stabilizing presence. Robert is a well-respected leader with a wealth of knowledge that he’ll use as he continues to serve our community.”
“I had the fortunate privilege of meeting Chief Brown in 2014 while participating in Leadership Southwest. Having Chief Brown serve as a Deputy for me is both a privilege and an honor, I believe that his long-term knowledge and history with the City of Duncanville make him the ideal candidate to help lead our City into the future,” she added.
Chief Brown said he remembered the day he was hired by Duncanville City Manager Kent Cagle as the city’s new police chief in 2007 as “one of the happiest days of my life.”
“I always wanted to be a police chief, and I was so grateful to Duncanville for giving me that opportunity. That’s one of the many reasons I’m so fond of this city. I was also drawn to Duncanville because I noticed the previous chiefs had long tenures. As a young man I knew that once I signed on, I wanted to stay awhile. I also liked the size of the city, as I wasn’t interested in being chief in a large city,” he added.
After graduating from Terrell HS in 1981, Brown graduated from McLennan Community College and the Waco Police Academy to begin his law enforcement career as a patrol officer for the Waco Police Department in 1983. In 1988 he joined the Dallas Police Department, and in 1994 he joined the University Park Police Department. He served them as a Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, Field Training Coordinator, Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Officer, and Court Bailiff. Advancing quickly through the ranks, Brown was recognized as the first African American sergeant, lieutenant, and captain in University Park Police Department’s history.
“Tapping Robert Brown to serve as our Assistant City Manager is the right choice for our city at the right time,” said Duncanville Mayor Barry L. Gordon. “As our city emerges from so many successive challenges, we need the leadership that the combination of Ms. Ferrell-Benavides and Mr. Brown will provide.”
Interim Police Chief Mark LiVigni
Mark LiVigni, the former Assistant Police Chief, has been appointed Interim Police Chief of the Duncanville Police Department. The police department has 60 authorized staff members, with two new officers recently joining the department.
“Mark will make an excellent Police Chief,” Brown said. “Every leader needs to prepare people to assume leadership roles, and during my term as Police Chief I prepared him to assume leadership of the department when the time came.”
“The Duncanville community has always been very supportive of the police department,” Brown said, “and the overall morale of our officers has been good, especially considering the problems encountered by those in other cities. But it’s important for the police department to do their part, and Duncanville Police Department believes in community outreach and engagement. Non-enforcement contacts with the public, such as National Night Out (usually held in October), Coffee with a Cop, and our Santa Cop program are important. The Police Department and Fire Department are able to interact with the community at National Night Outs, and the public sees us having a good time together.”
Until the pandemic, Chief Brown said they held open house and other community engagement events Free meals were provided for the community, and police and fire department equipment was on display at these events.
“The time to come together is before you have problems, long before things start to escalate. We need to have an ability to sit down together, get to know each other and build a good relationship before the storm comes,” Brown said.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Brown said, the police department had to change the way they operated to better protect the police officers and the public.
“We only stopped cars for serious traffic violations; and handled calls remotely whenever possible. If we had in person investigations there were strict safety measures in place. Our officers wore masks and gloves, carried hand sanitizer, and took other precautions. It was difficult to see so many die from Covid, it was the #1 killer of men and women in police departments across the nation. We made it through, but had a number who tested positive in spite of our precautions,” he said.
Assistant City Manager Robert Brown
As Assistant City Manager, Brown is in charge of Duncanville’s Police Department, Fire Department, City Marshall’s office, the Duncanville Public Library, and Parks & Recreation Department.
“I’m extremely excited to have this new opportunity to continue to serve the city as ACM. We have a great team and I want to do whatever I can to help our team be successful. I want to be a good listener to the men and women in other departments and city operations; help determine their needs to provide the best counsel and service possible. I want to help make our city one of the best of its size in the nation,” Brown said.
“My family loves the fact I’m still giving back to the community. We’re a family that believes in giving back and helping others. My mother, who died Dec. 22 in 2020, taught me the importance of giving back and helping others. She truly believed in serving others. Many in the family are educators; my sister is a teacher and two daughters also. One of my sons also taught school before becoming a police officer. My father was a teacher, two aunts were teachers, and I taught Criminal Justice courses at a local university. With my family background, it was an easy decision to go into a service profession,” he said.
Brown is a graduate of the Institute for Law Enforcement Administration in Plano, and the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He holds a Master of Peace Officer Certification, a Bachelor of Business Administration from Northwood University in Cedar Hill, and a Master of Business Administration Degree in Management from Amberton University in Garland.