Although older by now, memories of former police officer Mark Brown proved just as effective in describing the first Shoreline police officer who died while on duty.
Members of Brown’s family, including his parents, two children, sister and two brothers, joined community members, coworkers and Sheriff Sue Rahr and First District Congressman Jay Inslee, who is Brown’s first cousin, at a ceremony on Aug. 8 in North City. A bench was dedicated near the site of Brown’s fatal accident.
“Mark didn’t pull punches or mince words,” said Rahr, a former Shoreline police chief. “I can’t tell you how much I wish Mark would swagger into my office now.”
Rahr shared her memories with the crowd that gathered, telling them how Brown was never at a loss for words. He projected a “tough guy” image and often would come into her office to either share a joke or tell her a “piece of his mind,” which she said she always appreciated. Brown was a “good cop and a good man,” Rahr said.
Brown was responding to a silent bank hold-up alarm on the morning of Feb. 25, 1999, when his motorcycle collided with a car at NE 177th Street and 15th Avenue NE. His emergency lights and siren were on when he struck the rear of a vehicle and he was wearing his helmet, but he was seriously injured. He died two days after the accident, at the age of 38. The alarm turned out to be false.
Brown had been a sheriff’s deputy since 1988 and was assigned to Shoreline as a motorcycle traffic enforcement officer. He also was a School Resource Officer at Briarcrest Elementary School.
Brown was at Leena’s Cafe having breakfast when he received a call that an alarm was going off nearby, said his sister, Sheri Brown Smith, 50.
Brown lived in Shoreline with his wife, who has since remarried, and his two children, Hannah and Alex.
Although a dedication ceremony had been tentatively discussed for a few years, it recently came to fruition, Smith said, after her mother contacted the city six months ago to request a memorial.
“It has been hard for the family to drive by the accident site,” said Smith, who resides in Bothell with her family. “I used to drive on 15th (Avenue) all the time.
“It is an honor that the city is doing something,” Smith said, “even though nothing will ever bring him back.”