A retired LEO and author helps communities see behind and beyond the badge By: Policing Matters


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Law enforcement officers are tasked with a difficult mission that, different from so many other professions, causes them to be exposed to the risk of trauma, injury, or even death. Often, the public is unaware of acts of selflessness, courage, resilience and heroism by those who dedicate their lives to protecting and serving their communities.

In this episode of Policing Matters, host Jim Dudley speaks with Donna Brown, a 26-year veteran of the Tallahassee Police Department in Florida who since her retirement, has dedicated herself to chronicling acts of officer heroism. Donna is the author of the Behind and Beyond the Badgeseries, which helps drive negative conversations around policing toward a positive outlook on law enforcement. Volume I was published in 2017 and won two gold medals in the Florida Authors and Publishers (FAPA) International book awards contest. Donna sums up her books by saying, “My books don’t have the power to change minds but perhaps by offering a different perspective I can open them.”

Donna graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor of science in criminology in 1979. A few months later, she was hired by the Tallahassee Police Department, one of only five women on the force at the time. Like most new police officers, Donna began her career working the streets answering calls for service. She started training new recruits and turned that passion into teaching department-wide, at the academy and to community groups. When she was promoted to sergeant she remained on the streets and continued training new recruits. Career progression moved Donna to the Criminal Investigation Division where she spent 15 years, 10 years supervising the Homicide Unit. Donna knows that there is so much more behind the badge that people don’t realize or understand and spent much of her career speaking to citizen groups in hope of educating and broadening minds about law enforcement.

This episode of the Policing Matters Podcast is sponsored by Polco. Polco’s National Law Enforcement Survey provides a comprehensive, accurate and representative picture of resident opinions related to police services. Compare your results with other agencies around the nation. Align your priorities with community sentiment, build trust, and improve safety services. Visit info.polco.us to learn more.


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