Local News

Raleigh PD's highest-ranking black woman inspired by King

Posted February 25, 2011

— Maj. Cassandra Deck Brown is the highest-ranking black woman in the Raleigh Police Department.

Her rise to crack the brass ceiling in a predominantly male profession followed a saying of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King:

"I am not interested in power for power's sake, but I'm interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good."

Brown said she made up her mind to be a cop as a young girl when she saw a black policewoman.

"Watching her literally handle that call, handle her business, make that arrest and get back in her car – she never knew what kind of impact she had on me," Brown said.

King's words guide RPD leader King's words guide RPD leader

Brown graduated from the Raleigh Police Academy in 1987. She was one of only four women in a class of 20.

"We supported each other, and we recognized that to get through this, we had to create a team of one," she recalled. "Those relationships still exist."

From a rookie officer, Brown climbed the ladder to the rank of detective and up to an elite group of four majors in the Raleigh Police Department.

One hundred seventeen officers answer to her, and she has left her mark on crimes that range from murder to shoplifting.

Brown said she aimed to rise to authority in way that left "others knowing that I was fair, I was honest, and I believed in helping others achieve."

The 47-year-old major believes her success in the Raleigh police force shows other women what is possible in law enforcement. She's hopeful that the capital city will one day see a black female police chief.

As for herself, Brown said, she aims to keep improving and bettering herself.

"I can see myself in many capacities," she said. "Going back to my very first resume, my goal is to achieve the highest position that I could attain."

WRAL-TV celebrates Black History Month with Living the Legacy. This month-long series spotlights the accomplishments of local individuals who are living the legacy of their ancestry and great African-American leaders.


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  • haida Feb 25, 2011

    Wish WRAL had a place to check if you like a comment as facebook does. I think Ms. Brown's accomplishments are wonderful.Sad that people have to be so negative.

  • Mom2two Feb 25, 2011

    "realcloak" is correct. There is, oftentimes, an underlying belief that if you are black (male or female) you are hired because of affirmative action, not because of your credentials. As a white person, I cannot understand what it must be like to regularly have it assumed that I must be less intelligent because of my color, and that I am where I am because of affirmative action.

    Affirm Action DOES exist, and there are people who fill employment spots to achieve a racial balance, and while this benefits some, it risks cheapening achievements such as Major Brown's.

    I know Major Brown. I know there is no police officer on the Raleigh Police Department that is any smarter or hardworking than Casey. I have always been in awe of her and her achievements, both personal and professional. She is an amazing person.

  • horsepamperer Feb 25, 2011

    I am very happy to see someone striving to better themselves and make a difference. She is a great role model. This is needed in ALL races. I don't agree with being turned down for a job because of race be it black or white, you should be judged on your merits and qualifications. Having said that, I believe it is in part due to both races. Whites for having excluded blacks for years from their God given right of equality and blacks for using that exlcusion as an excuse at every turn even when it doesn't apply to the situation at hand.

  • jbarron4950 Feb 25, 2011

    Very ironic, about 10 years ago, I applied for a deputy position in another county and was told by the sheriff that he couldn't hire me then due to a push to hire more black deputies in that area. I, of course,am white. Funny how things have changed over the years.....Beach4Me

    What's really funny is how LONG Blacks suffered that same fate and how LONG that change took.

  • jbarron4950 Feb 25, 2011

    "WRAL-TV celebrates Black History Month with Living the Legacy. This month-long series spotlights the accomplishments of local individuals who are living the legacy of their ancestry and great African-American leaders."

    I'm proud of the fact that she's a woman and even prouder that she is Black. This is something that was not attainable just a few years ago. Her accomplishment helps to remove the stereotyping that SOME people attach to all Blacks. How soon SOME people conventiently forget the history of America and how SOME of it's citizens have treated.

  • Coach K is still GREAT Feb 25, 2011

    I have always believed in you, Major! We of the populace give too little recognition to achievers in police work. I hope that changes as of right now!
    February 25, 2011 2:04 p.m.
    Ignore Report abuse

    Is this b/c of who she is? Or do you feel that way about all policeman/woman, black and white?

  • whatelseisnew Feb 25, 2011

    It is nice that she decided to be a Police Officer. How is it of any news that she is black?

  • realcloak Feb 25, 2011

    What folks who seem embittered about the past should choose to understand, is that as african americans, there is a tremendous stigma of being underachievers, or being incapable of of achieving leadership roles. Being a woman makes it that much harder. One cannot deny that, especially in the south to this very day, some xenophobes cannot stand to a woman or a person of color in a leadership position, no matter how much documented evidence exists of the blood, sweat, tears and determination it took for that individual to get where they are.

    There needs to be a paradigm shift, amongst those who refuse to look around and see that there are many great and powerful people of every color leading business, politics, the military and more. Lets not forget about Gen. Colin Powell, the current Sgt. Major of the Marine Corps Carlton Wayne Kent, CEO of Darden Restaurants Clarence Otis Jr( owns Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse,Red Lobster and The Capital Grille) Afirmative action? Not for them.

  • mrduright Feb 25, 2011


    why wasn't Martin Luther King a roll model I would love to hear this answer. That is of course if you know anything about the man.

  • souljp1 Feb 25, 2011

    Ugum, ifcdirector
    The reason "Why do we have to continue to dwell on racial division?" is because it has only been in the last 40 years that any minority was consider for any position of power unless it was the DISHWASHER or JANITOR. Some minority kids still don't believe they can be anything better. So we need role models and do away we all this hater mentality of other races ACHIEVEMENTS, just because you 2 have it all and don't even know it.