My friend and fellow UCLA alum Chief John Thomas of the USC Police Dept penned this great research article on former LAPD Assistant Police Chief Jesse Brewer. Of course Brewer came to LA at a time when the LAPD was one of the few government agencies that Blacks could advance in. Great to know the stories of the folks that parks and buildings that we pass through every day are named for.
In recognition of Black History Month 2020 and the legacy of African American service in the Los Angeles Police Department...I present, Assistant Chief Jesse A. Brewer.
Prior to his police service, Brewer, attended college at Tuskegee Institute and Shaw University, and would later earn a master’s degree in public administration in 1977 from USC.
He’d also served in combat in WWII where as a Army Combat Infantry Captain he was wounded in the bloody invasion of Italy. As a serviceman He was highly decorated earning the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge and 2 Campaign Ribbons.
Prior to his appointment to LAPD in 1952, he’d also served 5 years as an officer with the Chicago Police Department.
As a member of the the LAPD he would have the distinction of being the first black officer in LAPD history to be appointed to Deputy Chief in 1981 and Assistant Chief in 1987.
When he retired in 1991 after 39 years of service, Brewer was the highest-ranking African American in the history of the LAPD. He was then appointed to the Police Commission and helped lead the civilian watchdog agency through the department’s stressful transition from Chief Daryl F. Gates to Chief Willie L. Williams.
Chief Brewer passed away in November 1995.
The 77th Street Jesse A. Brewer Community Regional Police Facility and the Jesse A. Brewer Park (on Exposition Blvd. across the street from his Alma mata, USC) are both named in his honor.
For those of us who had the pleasure of knowing Chief Brewer, he left an indelible impact on our careers and was a true leader and model of community service.
Writer/Researcher: John Thomas