Former DeKalb sheriff will oversee Stone Mountain’s small police department

DeKalb County’s longtime former sheriff is temporarily managing public safety operations in the small city of Stone Mountain.

Thomas Brown, who led the county sheriff’s office from 2001 to 2014, will oversee the day-to-day police operations for the next six months and make recommendations about what the city can change, according to a copy of his contract obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Brown will serve as “public safety administrator,” making $38,160 — $6,360 per month — according to the contract, which was approved by the City Council last week. The small DeKalb County city is home to about 6,300 residents, and its police department has just 19 employees when fully staffed, including Brown and Chief Chancey Troutman. The contract states the administrator position is short-term and expires near the end of 2020.

The city previously said it planned to review its policies amid a renewed conversation about race and policing around the country.

Brown, who has already met with the chief, told the AJC he has no preconceived notions about the Stone Mountain Police Department.

“It remains to be seen whats going to come out of it,” Brown said, adding that he has “never heard anything about the Stone Mountain Police Department that would give pause to the citizens of that beautiful city.”

However, Brown said he plans on "creating a new mindset within the police department." That includes considering former President Barack Obama's challenge for local police departments to review and reform their use-of-force policies.

Brown stepped down as sheriff in 2014 to launch a congressional bid, though he lost that contest to incumbent Rep. Hank Johnson.

Since then, Brown has consulted for the healthcare company Wellpath, helping connect them with local sheriff’s offices, including in Cobb, Cherokee and Rockdale, he said. He has also helped evaluate the police department for city of Covington, which he said was similar to what he will do in Stone Mountain.

Brown also founded the Havana Cigar Lounge & Kitchen in Sandy Springs last year, but he said that business recently closed for good due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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