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“One word. Proud.”
That was Lt. Greg Brown’s reaction when Andrew, his oldest child and only son, announced plans to pursue a career in law enforcement. He was prouder still when his son landed a job with the Bristol Tennessee Police Department at the tender age of 21, then repeated the same oath to protect and serve the Bristol community that has been a guiding force throughout his own 27-year-career in law enforcement. They work different shifts and are assigned to different divisions, but the father/son duo share the camaraderie that is common among police officers – multiplied many times, of course, because of their strong family bond.
That’s reason enough to celebrate Father’s Day, but the Browns have another tiny reason this year. Her name is Pressley, and her birth on April 10 made Andrew a father for the first time and Lt. Brown a first-time grandfather.
“I think I’ve figured out that I’m a boring grandpa because she goes to sleep every time I hold her,” Lt. Brown said. “ But family time is very important to me, and it always has been. We try to go out to eat together as a family once a week. It doesn’t matter where we go as long as we make time to be together.”
Rewind to 1996.
Lt. Brown came to the BTPD after working as a 911 dispatcher for the Kingsport Police Department. Like all new recruits, he attended the police academy, completed field training, and was assigned to the patrol division. He and his wife, Kristie, started a family and, although he continued his full-time position with the BTPD, he also enlisted in the Navy Reserve immediately after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
His three children – Andrew, Gracie, and Maggie - were just 7, 5, and 3 when he was called to active duty during Operation Enduring Freedom. There he served as Master-At-Arms – the Navy’s version of military police - at the Kuwait/Iraq border for just under a year. Once back home, he returned to his job in the BTPD patrol division, serving as watch commander over the night shift for many years before he was promoted to his current role in the Community Policing Division last year. He also serves as a Training Officer, Defensive Tactics Instructor, and Firearms Instructor for the department.
Somewhere along the way he earned an associate’s degree in Public Safety Law Enforcement and a bachelor’s degree in Business, then graduated from Northwestern University’s Police Command School. He is now a commanding officer for the NCIS Investigative Reserve Unit in Norfolk and has earned numerous military awards, including the Expert Pistol Medal, Expert Rifle Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, and the National Defense Ribbon.
It’s no surprise, then, that Andrew decided on a career in police work.
He took a few criminal justice courses at Tennessee High School, participated in a couple ride-along sessions just to be sure, then – with his dad’s blessing - applied for a job with the BTPD when he turned 21.
“He’s always had a good head on his shoulders, and I know this department,” Lt. Brown said. “I know the people and I know how good our training is. I feel more comfortable knowing he is working with the same people who have worked beside me all these years and always helped me make it home.”
Andrew graduated from the Walter’s State Regional Law Enforcement Training Academy in 2020 and is now assigned to the Patrol Division’s night shift.
“I like the fact that it’s something different every day,” he said. “We have a chance to benefit the community in a lot of different ways. I like knowing when I go home that I’ve made a difference in someone’s life.”
He already has completed Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) training, which teaches officers to detect drivers who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol and is interested in becoming a K9 handler. He hopes to promote to sergeant when he’s completed the required years of service and to pursue other training opportunities that come his way.
He undoubtedly learned a great deal about police work from his father, Andrew admits, but said he is most grateful for the family values passed down from father to son.
“He showed me what it means to be a good father just by being there,” he said. “Even when he was working night shift, he’d find a way to make it to my baseball game. He was always there for me and my sisters and just showed us an enormous amount of love. He still does.”
Andrew and his fiancée, Kalyn, have gained some real-world parenting experience in recent years by serving as foster parents to a handful of kids in need – some of them drug addicted at birth or abandoned by their biological parents. They’ve had three children to care for at once, siblings with nowhere else to go, and have also fostered a teen-age girl who was waiting to age out of the system.
They keep in touch with many of these kids but have stepped back from the foster care system to concentrate on raising their own daughter – and to continue the tradition of carving out special moments to make lasting family memories.
Shout out to Officer Andrew Brown and Lt. Greg Brown of the Bristol Tennessee Police Department, dedicated police officers and proud fathers, for their many selfless contributions to family and community. They’re a great reminder of the reasons we celebrate Father’s Day each year and a perfect example of #bristolatwork.