By Robin Brown, Sentinel editorFebruary 12, 2009
The adage "Don't mess with mom" often proves to be good advice, especially when mom is a police officer who graduated at the top of her class at the police academy.
Iris Brown, a patrol officer with the U.S. Army Garrison Directorate of Emergency Services (DES), finds being the wife of a deployed Soldier, mom to five children and a police officer means accomplishing day-to-day missions can be a challenge she enjoys.
"I find it exciting balancing motherhood and a career," Brown explained regarding her 19-year-old college sophomore, 17-year-old high school junior, 15-year-old high school freshman, 5-year-old kindergartener and 3-year-old preschooler. "Preparation is the key to accomplishing them both, and I'm am so proud that I have a husband who supports me in those endeavors."
Brown's husband, a lieutenant colonel assigned to the U.S. Army Reserve Command, is overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Balancing the family and career takes work, Brown said. Not only does she meet her challenges, but she excels at them, such as being selected honor graduate at the police academy in January.
The training was by no means easy, Brown claims, but says it was a challenge that had to be met.
"I got through the academy because I did not want to have to explain failing to my children, and I wanted them to say, 'If mom did that, I can take on the challenges of my life as well,'" Brown explained. "When I realized I was at the head of my class, I was surprised because my goal was to do well; anything else would be extra."
Brown, a seasoned military spouse, said her Soldier helped her prepare for the police academy by running with her and creating a personalized physical training plan. Police recruits are required to perform at high physical levels during the 10-week police academy. He helped in other ways, too.
"He did a great job at caring for the kids while I was at the academy," she said.
Brown attended the White Sands Missile Range Regional Police Academy, which was inaugurated in 2005 to train DoD's newly appointed Federal police officers. Recruits receive at least 400 hours of classroom instruction and practical and physical training designed to provide them the knowledge, ability and skills needed to perform at the entrance level in Federal law enforcement.
Capt. Jeffrey A. Butler, chief of the Investigation Division at DES and Brown's first-line supervisor, said he's proud of Brown's accomplishment at the academy.
"She has demonstrated she is highly motivated and quick to grasp law enforcement concepts. That is the recipe for success in any job. Employees who have her level of enthusiasm and are provided with good leadership, direction and training are capable of great achievements," Butler said.
And while she's also proud of the honor graduate achievement, Brown explained that other honors come before it.
"My most proud accomplishment would be my marriage to a Soldier, and my children," said the 42-year-old New Jersey native. "I love being a mom because it is never a dull moment. It is like reading a mystery novel, trying to figure out what the kids will do next. My children help me keep the young person in me alive."
Brown has been a police officer for eight months, but this isn't her first call to duty in a uniform. Her last uniform included combat boots.
"I've accepted this opportunity because I have previous experience as a military police officer," Brown said of her choice to become a DoD police officer. She served three years in the Army Reserve and four years on active duty before completing her Army commitment in 1993.
She said the military background gave her the footing she needs as she performs her duties in the Traffic Accident Investigation Section. She performs a variety of duties, including assisting in accident investigations, ensuring radar and parking enforcement and providing traffic control for events and ceremonies.
"Brown is not new to a military lifestyle," explained Butler. "The skill set she brings to the table is an array of traits she has mastered through life experiences. She possesses great listening skills. She is intelligent, patient and takes pride in her job to get the mission accomplished correctly the first time."
Brown said she has always wanted to work in law enforcement. She worked as a probation officer in Cobb County from 2000 through 2002. As a child, she aspired to be a lawyer, a career she still considers a possibility.
For now and until the post closes, Brown says she is happy with her opportunity to "proudly serve the Soldiers and Civilians of Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem."