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Chief Charles Brown

Charles A. Brown was born in Stanhope, N.J. in 1942. His family moved to Budd Lake when he was a young child. As a teenager he attended West Morris High School and was a member of the football team. He was also a member of the Budd Lake Fire Department and eventually rose to the rank of Fire Chief. Thus began Charlie’s life of public service.

In 1966 Charlie joined the ranks of the Mt. Olive Twp. Police Department as a special police officer. One year later, Charlie was sworn in as a full time officer and attended the State Police Academy in Sea Girt, N.J. He graduated from the 106th Municipal Police Class. When he returned to Mt. Olive Twp., Charlie worked alongside officers Stephens, Hildebrant, Van DeMark and Juhls.

Early in his career Charlie escaped serious injury when the patrol car he was operating was hit from behind by a westbound tractor trailer after he had stopped to aid a stranded motorist on Route 46. This collision caused his car to burst into flames. A total of four cars were involved in the accident. One of the vehicles involved spun and struck Officer Brown. A newspaper article that reported on the accident stated that “Officer Brown was struck with such force that he was knocked out of his shoes and into a snow bank”. Luckily, Charlie was treated for only minor injuries and was released from the hospital.

In 1974, Charlie was promoted to the rank of sergeant. Up to that point in his career, Charlie seemed to favor working as a traffic officer. While he worked in that capacity he often handled motor vehicle accidents and other traffic related events. Charlie also started the department’s first K-9 Unit in 1978. His German Sheppard, “Rommel”, was utilized many times by the department.

In 1980, Charlie was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. He then assumed the roles of Patrol Division Commander and Investigations Division Commander. As a Lieutenant, Charlie also started the department’s Special Operations Unit.

In 1992, Charlie was promoted to the rank of Captain. When Chief Edward Kane retired in 1994 he was appointed as acting Chief of Police and was put in charge of the department. After a brief time as acting chief, he was promoted to Chief of Police in early 1995.

While head of the K-9 Unit and Special Operations Unit, Charlie was often seen giving K-9 demonstrations at local schools and civic groups. Despite his rank, Charlie never hesitated to put on the protective pads that allowed the police dogs to bite him during training. He also participated in Special Operation Unit drills. The long hours of training, which involved being exposed to the affects of tear gas, did not keep Charlie in his office. He managed his officers along side them, not from his desk.

During his career, Charlie was involved in many aspects of police work. He served as both an armorer and a firearms instructor. He performed this function for Mt. Olive Twp. and for the Morris County Police Academy, where he instructed the police cadets.

Charlie received many awards and commendations during his years of service. Some of these included a Meritorious Service award in 1967, an award for the creation of the department’s K-9 Unit in 1978, a Combat Cross in 1978 and a Grand Cordon in 1989.

When Charlie was hired as a patrolman, a college degree was not required. However, years later college became a requirement for hiring as well as for promotions. Charlie was not content with the fact that his officers were required to have a college degree and he did not. Therefore, he enrolled in Morris County Community College where he pursued an Associates Degree. In 1991, Charlie graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice.

During his off duty time, Charlie enjoyed hunting, fishing, skydiving, scuba diving and skiing. He was a long time member of the Musconetcong Masons Lodge 141 and the North Jersey Street Rod Association. He also served as Vice President of the Mt. Olive Twp. Police Athletic League.

However, Charlie did not spend all of his off duty time pursuing his own interests. Just as he served the public in uniform, Charlie served the public on his own time. Perhaps what Charlie was best known for was his dedication to an area orphanage. For many years Charlie played Santa Clause at the Children’s Home of Easton in Pennsylvania. As Christmas season approached, Charlie collected presents for the children and stored them in the hallways and offices within the department. At times, headquarters resembled a toy factory more than a police station. Every year Charlie went to the Children’s Home to deliver the presents to ensure that the children had a special Christmas.

Sadly, in July of 1999, Charlie was diagnosed with Burkett’s Lymphoma Leukemia. That was the first time in 15 years that Charlie was not able to deliver the presents to the Children’s Home of Easton.

Chief Charles A. Brown died on Christmas morning in 1999, but his legacy lives on with the help of many officers of Mt. Olive Twp.

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