Deputy Supt. Ernest Brown started with the Chicago Police Department in 1982, and now is now third in charge under Supt. Jody Weis.
"Very few people are fortunate enough or blessed enough to find themselves in this position, so for me its an honor and a privilege to be here," Brown said.
Brown agreed to talk with us in honor of Black History Month, because he feels that kids needs role models.
"I think it's important that kids see people who have succeeded or at least have the professional areas of success in their life, who came from the streets," Brown said. "My uncle was a police officer and we lived with him for a short time, and he'd come home with the most amazing stories. It sounded like a TV show every day, and it kind of peaked an interest in me."
Brown grew up in the Alba public housing development and then moved to the South Side, where he graduated from South Shore High School. He said his parents kept him focused, out of gangs, and off the streets.
"I was probably more afraid of my dad and my mom than any other gang member I saw," he said.
Brown enrolled at Roosevelt University pre-med, but left to join the Air Force. He'd later work for the University of Chicago Police Department, and then finally fulfilled his dream: to join the CPD. He started in Englewood, and moved to the narcotics unit.
His partner of nine years, District 15 Commander Walter Green, said Brown took his experiences in Englewood with him to the top.
"That zeal for making the city a better place to live, work and raise children has been exhibited by his career -- so while he's a great police officer -- that's just grown, as he's grown in rank," Green said.
Brown said he still walks out of his office at Headquarters and into the community at least twice a week, because he believes the streets won't change until police are seen there on a regular basis.
"Community-based policing in itself does not reduce crime but it allows us to interact more effectively in the community because many of the issues we face from a law enforcement perspective are social issues and not crime issues necessarily. They are social issues that transcend into criminal conduct," Brown said.
Brown is a modest man who refused to list the number of awards he's gotten.
"Awards are what men and women think of you -- it's like reputation. Character is what god and the angels know of you, so I'm hoping that professionally and personally that I'm always displaying character, as opposed to displaying awards," Brown said.
After almost 29 years with the CPD, he's been in his new role for seven months, and he's too humble to take credit for the work he's done to get here.
"I could sit here an attest to all my hard work and study and whatnot, but there's a lot of God's providence that takes hold here because there are a lot of talented people in this organization," he said. This is an incredible honor and a blessing from God. What I view is: this is god's job and I'm just occupying the seat."
Brown was married on Valentine's Day, and now has a total of seven children.