R D Brown Eulogy by Miguel Rosario

I’ve recently committed to making a substantial post every Thursday but, most often, it will appear on Wednesday afternoon or early evening. The first entry under this new commitment is a guest post by Miguel Rosario who delivered R.D. Brown’s eulogy and has graciously consented to guest post it here. As a reminder, he’s putting together a book of remembrance for R.D.’s family and is soliciting “clean” stories for the endeavor. You can send them to him at mrosario.pd.sandiego.gov.

Eulogy for my brother RD 1/14/2011

Before I begin, I’d like to thank Christine, Kathy, Nick, Sean and Suzanne, for giving me the high honor and privilege to speak at RD’s service. I was deeply humbled by your request and will forever be grateful. Thank you.

I met RD in 1990, when the San Diego Police Departments Special Investigations Unit was made operational again. RD was selected because he had worked fencing in the past and could provide valuable insight into building SIU into an effective proactive unit.

Like most people on SDPD, I had heard many of the legendary stories about RD. I remember the stories always had two consistent elements. One was that he did something very funny and the other that he got into some sort of trouble for violating department policy or telling someone something most of us would love to say but didn’t.

I remember hearing about how an entire squad ordered uniform name plates with RD’s name on them.
I also heard the stories about citizens who were not happy with the police service they received, demanding an officer’s name and ID number, and getting Rd’s name.

My first impressions of RD when I joined SIU were positive. From day one I noticed that RD was different. He had an air about him that told me that there was more to this guy than what I had heard about. He was not arrogant, he was not cocky, he was not selfish. I watched him closely and listened to what he said. I noticed that the other Detectives and the unit Sergeant had a subtle and subdued respect for RD and deferred to him on just about all investigative matters we discussed.

When everyone else was upstairs getting breakfast, RD could be found at the computers running people and trying to track down suspects he had identified or had a lead on.

When SIU initiated a long term deep undercover sting operation shortly after going operational, RD volunteered along with Rick Hansen to be the undercover operatives posing as outlaw bikers. The premise of the operation involved getting the word out through confidential informants that 2 outlaw bikers were open for business and would buy stolen construction equipment, guns, and stolen cars.
RD was heavily involved in developing the undercover strategy used and the overall sting operational plan as well.

Once the crooks started showing up at the sting location stolen property and cars followed.
RD and Rick had all the crooks convinced they were connected to the Hells Angels without having to say it directly. Word spread quickly and activity increased dramatically.
The sting operation lasted for close to eight months.

It was during this operation that I was able to get a firsthand look at the side of RD that I doubt many people have had the pleasure of seeing. I saw a person who was able to become the undercover character he was playing with confidence and with ease. He was able to convincingly look career criminals in the eye and negotiate deals that paid out pennies on the dollar for stolen goods. Some crooks were so shaken up, thinking they were dealing with real Hells Angel’s, that they happily took what they were paid just to get on their way.

As I mentioned earlier, many of the stories about RD had the two elements, he did something funny and got in trouble.

When I got to know RD I discovered 3 consistent elements:
1. He was still very funny
2. He was an excellent investigator
3. He cared a great deal about people

RD was a professional and was very good at what he did. He had great instincts when it came to following up on cases and when dealing with people whether they be victims, witnesses or suspects. He conducted excellent suspect interrogations and his investigations were thorough and complete.

RD cared a great deal about people and always helped those who needed guidance. He gladly offered to share his knowledge with young officers. He always had officers milling around his cubicle seeking advice, sharing information or just looking for a laugh to brighten their day.

RD also felt a strong need to give fellow Detectives a hard time. He could often be heard giving Dan Stanley, John Jenner, Frank Canson, Frank Budai or a host of others grief about one thing or another.
When he called me to invite me to his 50th birthday party, I told him I could not make it because I was getting married that day down at Puerto Nuevo, South of Rosarito, RD told me”Man, the only reason your getting married in Mexico is because your fiancé is 14 years old” “Come on man, cancel that wedding and get up here for my birthday”

When I first informed him I was Puerto Rican he asked me where I was born and raised and a few other personal questions that led me to believe he was truly interested in my story but he was really setting me up. He told me he knew there were a lot of Switchblade factories in Puerto Rico and could I get him a switchblade at a discounted price. He said he knew Puerto Ricans were good with switchblades because he saw Westside story. He asked me if Sal Mineo and Ricky Ricardo were Puerto Rican.

In fact, any Hispanic or Latino who was in the news for doing something stupid, RD would walk up to me and say “Puerto Rican”.

And so began the battle between him and I. Every time I heard about or saw a story about something a white person did that was stupid or funny, I’d call him, he would do the same when he heard about a Hispanic. It got to the point that he would answer the phone by saying “man what did whittie do now”
I told him I had proof Elvis stole rock and roll from Little Richard and he told me Freddie Prince was really killed in a dice or domino game.

I told him Ted Williams was half Hispanic and he told me when Roberto Clemente’s plane went down he was really smuggling pot.

Once when I attended a party at his house he took me off to the side and as if trying to be secretive about something told me if before I ate I wouldn’t mind going around back and parking a few cars and maybe busing a few tables.

In our own weird way, without ever specifically discussing it, we used humor to make fun of the irrationality and absurdity of racism and bias.

I remember the hard time I gave him when I pointed out that I could not understand why white people always felt the need to be one with wild animals. I pointed out Siegfried and Roy, and the Crocodile hunter to name a few. I told him, you will never see a Puerto Rican attacked by a wild animal. Puerto Ricans understand wild animals are wild. They don’t want to be petted or cuddled or talked to. The only way a Puerto Rican will observe a wild animal from close is if there are bars or barriers in between. RD would laugh and say “I know it”

Just a few short months ago, RD and Christine went to Pittsburg for a work related conference. I got a call from RD telling me he was at a bar and was sitting next to a picture/plaque of Roberto Clemente, number 21, probably the best right fielder in the history of the major leagues. RD knew I idolized Roberto Clemente, that’s why he called me. A few days later I got a package at my home. In it was a black Pittsburg Pirates tee shirt with the number 21 on the back.

Being the South Bronx New York kid that I am, and being raised Roman Catholic, I have to speak directly to the man upstairs now. Lord, they say that during a life time the average person influences about 10 thousand people. When you consider how many people a Police Officer influences over a 35 year career, I think it is safe to say that RD probably touched and influenced ten times or more the number I quoted. Lord, he was not perfect, none of us are, but all the good that he did over his 65 years on this earth, 35 of those years as a police officer, that must account for something.

God, I know that even you must have those bad days when nothing goes quite right and everyone wants to talk to you about their needs and wants. Days when the devil pulled a fast one and stole a few more souls using his bag of tricks.

Lord, May I suggest hiring RD as a consultant.

I guarantee there will never be a dull moment. RD will always be there to say something that will make you laugh and keep things light. I must warn you though, I hope you have a strong sense of humor and can take a joke because he will on occasion turn on you without warning and zap you with something that will crack everyone around you up and get you laughing at yourself as well. Oh, and be warned as well that RD has a tendency to attract a lot of followers, before you know it he will become the center of attraction and the guy everyone wants to be around. He doesn’t do this deliberately, with RD, it just happens. If your ego can take this everything will be fine.

On the issue with the devil, I can’t think of a better person to have as an advisor when it comes to trying to figure out a strategy on how to keep the devil in check. RD always had a knack or a special intuitive skill that allowed him to get into the mind of many a suspect and bad guy. I think everyone who really knew RD recognized that RD was a guy who was not easily BS’ed. Personally, I don’t think the devil has a chance. If given the task to investigate and keep tabs on the red fellow, I guarantee you RD will not let you down. Besides, don’t forget that over his many years, RD developed a ton of friends and acquaintances some of which I’m sure did not quite make it to heaven. You can bet RD will be trying to sign up these old friends as confidential informants to help him stay current on the devil.

I’d like to point out in closing that a few strange things so typical of Rd’s life occurred during his last days. I leave it up to each of you to put it into your own perspective. RD died at 502 am last Friday. The room he was in before the final room where he died at Grossmont was room 211.
Lord, please let RD’s soul rest in peace and find him a place in your kingdom.

Farewell my brother, I love you.

MIGUEL ROSARIO

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