Al was born November 16, 1944 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the youngest of four children born to Albert and Willie Mae Brown. He grew up in Millvale, attended Withrow High School, and graduated in 1960. He also attended Xavier University and earned a bachelor’s degree.
On October 20, 1962, Al dropped out of high school and enlisted in the United States Navy. He was assigned to shore duty in Chicago and then Pearl Harbor. He ended his service on a ship based out of Long Beach, California. He obtained a GED certification. Seaman Brown was honorably discharged on March 3, 1966.
While attending college, he worked at several jobs, including at U.S. Shoe, United States Post Office, and Cincinnati Milling Machine until 1974.
Al joined the Cincinnati Police Division as a Police Recruit on September 8, 1974. He was promoted to Police Officer on February 2, 1975, issued Badge 40, and assigned to District 1 (310 Lincoln Park Drive). Officer Brown was rotated to District 4 (4150 Reading Road) a year later. He and 123 other officers were laid off on December 5, 1976 due to budget problems at City Hall. He was recalled from layoff on September 18, 1977 and assigned to District 3 (3201 Warsaw Avenue). Continuing his education, he earned a master’s degree in philosophy from Xavier University in 1982. Officer Brown transferred to Community Assistance Section on January 13, 1985. He also served again in Districts 1 and District 3, and in Police Communications Sections. From about 1995 to 2001, Officer Brown coordinated the city’s Computer Cop Program in his old neighborhood of Millvale. On May 20, 2001, he earned the Hamilton County Law Enforcement Award for Police Work with Children. Officer Brown retired on July 18, 2001 with 32 years of service to his country and community and 39 letters of appreciation and/or commendation, including three from police chiefs and one each from a city manager and postal inspector.
Officer Brown continued his education after his career, and he was the first African American to earn a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Cincinnati. He also was appointed director of the Mallory Center for Community Development and served as an adjunct professor for PreTech and Philosophy at the University of Cincinnati.
At the end of those careers, he settled in as a much-admired Wal-Mart support manager in West Chester.
Officer Brown died peacefully on February 1, 2023 at 78 years of age.
He was predeceased by his first wife, Marlene Brown, and siblings, Barbara Jean Southerland and Gerald Marice Brown. Officer Brown is survived by his wife, Melanie Allen-Brown; daughter, Aretha Denise Brown; sister, Shirley Ann Tolela; and stepdaughters, Brandy (Xenofanes) Duran, Marla Stevenson-Ruffin, Marva Stevenson-Robinson, and Marsha Stevenson.
His cremains were interred at Spring Grove Cemetery. A memorial visitation will be held 1 to 2 p.m. on Friday, March 3, 2023 at Spring Grove Funeral Home. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m.
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