President Preckwinkle Appoints New Executive Director for County’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

President Toni Preckwinkle announced today the appointment of Ernest Brown to the post of executive director of the Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM). Brown brings more than three decades of public safety, community outreach and leadership experience, including roles as the Darien Police Chief and Deputy Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.

“We are extremely fortunate to have the benefit of Ernie’s extensive experience in this critical position,” said Preckwinkle. “His background and understanding of our County’s diverse capabilities and needs make him uniquely suited to ensuring that DHSEM effectively carries out its mission to assist the municipalities and residents of this community.”

DHSEM’s mission is to enhance the safety and security of Cook County by working to prevent, protect against, mitigate the effects of, respond to and recover from all man-made and natural incidents.

Each year, the department conducts hundreds of trainings and exercises for more than 6,000 first responders; deploys personnel and equipment to incidents and events throughout the County’s 134 municipalities and 30 townships; and judiciously manages close to $30 million in federal grant funds.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the executive director of the Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management under the leadership of President Preckwinkle,” said Brown. “I look forward to working with a dedicated team of public servants to ensure that all of our municipalities and, most importantly, our residents receive the resources they need to enhance their resiliency and security.

“As the second largest County in the United States, I realize that we have many challenges, but we also have many resources. We must work together to ensure that we meet the needs of our entire community.”

Brown most recently served as the police chief for the 42-member Darien Police Department. Under his leadership the City of Darien saw a significant reduction in motor vehicle and residential burglaries. He utilized data collection in intelligence-led policing, implemented management accountability as well as a community-oriented policing model for the department.

Before joining the Darien Police Department, he was the Deputy Superintendent for the Chicago Police Department. Brown was responsible for the deployment and resource allocation for the department’s 8,000 uniformed officers. He developed and implemented crime reduction strategies and initiated collaborative programs between the department and federal, state and other local agencies to reduce crime.

During his 29-year tenure with CPD, Brown also served as Chief of Organized Crime, Commanding Officer, Assistant Deputy Superintendent and Commander. He has received numerous department commendations and awards for community service.

He is a member of the international Association of Chiefs of Police, Police Executive Research Forum, Illinois Police Chiefs Association, DuPage County Police Chiefs Association, Illinois Tactical Officers Association and a prior chair of the Illinois Interstate Gun trafficking Task Force.

In addition to a number of law enforcement certifications, Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Chicago State University. He resides in Chicago.