Brown was the first of our sheriffs to be born in the 20th century, in the year 1907. A native of Massachusetts, he joined the Coast Guard at the age of 17, attaining the rank of 2nd Class Quartermaster at the time of his discharge 11 years later.
Subsequent to his employment with the Customs Service in Seattle, Brown joined the Navy and remained in military service for nine years, at which time he retired as a lieutenant.
After a stint of unsatisfactory work on a cattle ranch near Grass Valley, he and his family moved to Alamo in south central Contra Costa County. It was from this locale that he joined the Sheriff's department as a radio dispatcher.
Brown was the first sheriff to work his way up through the department. After serving as a dispatcher he became a part of the civil defense unit, and from there he made his way to the Patrol Division, assuming its command for a time. During his second year in office, the department employed a total of 156 people, including sworn and general employees.