By Sheri L. Stuart, Staff Writer
Charlotte Brown made history in December 2018 when she was sworn in as the first African American and first female to be named Chief of Police for Clayton Township. The 54-year-old graduated from Powers High School and attended Mott Community College and the University of Michigan-Flint before signing on with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department. From there, she moved on to Clayton Township where she has served for the past 16 years. Chief Brown took over as interim chief at the beginning of 2018 when Chief William Tucker resigned. The job can be stressful, but she manages it with an equal dose of humor and faith in God, which she said sustains her.
“You have to have fun on this job because if you don’t that’s when the stress will get to you. Every now and then by me being the chief it gets more stressful than before, but that’s the game changer. When I took this job, I knew it would be like that,” she said.
“I couldn’t do this job and I couldn’t live my life without faith in the Lord,” said Chief Brown. “I wouldn’t even try it. I tried it and it didn’t work.”
Chief Brown said she loves helping people, especially young people that she hopes to steer in the right direction.
“When I grew up, we went to church as a family. It takes a village to raise a child. We don’t have that now. Children have choices and my job now is to be able to tell these children that you can get to where I’m at. You can go anywhere you want to go. You have Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Park and others. They paved the way for us so you can go anywhere you want to go.”
“Trouble is so hard to get out of and so easy to get into. Young people really don’t understand the consequences.”
Clayton is a charter township of Genesee County with approximately 7,600 residents. Last fall, several homeowners received an anonymous letter in their mailbox that questioned Chief Brown’s qualifications and called for the resignation of township board members who voted to hire her. Chief Brown said she was surprised by the racially charged letter but wasn’t going to give the incident any more energy than it deserved.
“In Clayton I’ve met a lot of really great people. When you’re in the blue and brown, we’re a family no matter what color, no matter what uniform or gender. We’re a family,” she said.
HERStory is a series of stories featuring local area women. This month, in recognition of National Women’s History Month, the Courier is featuring local area women who are making an impact in the Greater Flint community. Do you or someone you know have a story to share? Email Sheri at firstname.lastname@example.org.