Brown started with Logan County Monday.
The City of Booneville and the Booneville Police Department said goodbye to its chief of almost a decade Thursday with a luncheon at City Hall.
Chief Al Brown was presented with a plaque from Booneville Mayor Jerry Wilkins, who characterized the relationship between the positions as “a pretty good love affair,” though he admitted he had irritated Brown and did so at times on purpose “to see the top of his head get red.”
“About 15 years and almost eight month ago, this guy and I walked in here together,” Wilkins said. “I would like to take credit for hiring him but I can’t. Mayor (Brian) Mueller hired him. He knew I was going to need help so he hired Al Brown.”
Wilkins said after many years of patience, “my patience wore out and I appointed (Brown) chief,” Wilkins said. “Probably one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
The mayor also noted the difference in the department from the first to last days Brown was with the department.
“This guy is great. He’s done a great job with this department. We walked in here with two cars — one of them (would) run and one of them would run sometime,” he said. “We’ve been able to buy equipment thanks to the generosity of the people of Booneville with our sales tax.”
The police department currently receives 22 percent of the proceeds from the city’s one percent sales tax.
“It buys all the equipment. They’re the best dressed and best educated police department around,” said Wilkins.
Brown announced he was leaving the department to become an investigator with the Logan County Sheriff’s Office about a month ago.
The chief said the only thing driving the decision was a desire to no longer be in charge of a department.
“I didn’t argue with him,” said Wilkins. “Police chief is a high pressure job and he wanted less hours. Hopefully he gets them. Chief Brown has the ingredients I’m looking for in a policeman — he’s a great guy, he’s a Christian man, and he’s a family man.
“If we can find those people, and it’s getting harder every day, we can make a policeman out of him.”
Pressed to speak, Brown first said he really didn’t want to, but gave in to the request.
“We definitely had some time, but it’s always nice because I could always talk to him. We got through it no matter what it was,” Brown said before becoming emotional.
Brown was in on the hiring of everyone on the department with the exception of three employees.
One of those, Rusty Lewis, will be serving as interim police chief until an announcement of who will be the next chief of the department Wilkins said.
Meanwhile, Brown started his new position on Monday.