Meet Captain Samantha Brown, the newly appointed captain of the Philadelphia Police Department's (PPD) Airport Unit at Philadelphia International Airport. Although she has only been at PHL for nine weeks, she is quickly adapting to the difference in pace at the airport compared to working in neighborhood districts. However, her journey to this position has been bittersweet, as she will miss working with her staff in the communities.
Brown took the police exam and passed while studying at Penn State University. She decided to join the force and completed her training before going back to earn her Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. Brown is enthusiastic about her work and often says, "I LOVE this job." She has worked her way up the ranks, starting on the beat for six-and-a-half years in the 14th District before being promoted to detective and transferred to the Southwest Detective Division. She was then promoted to sergeant and transferred to the 22nd District in North Philadelphia, where she grew up. Soon after, she was promoted to lieutenant, moving her to South Philadelphia's 17th District. A couple of years later, Brown was promoted to the rank of captain and served in Internal Affairs, the 1st District, 16th District, and the 5th District.
Throughout her tenure, Brown has been very dedicated to engaging with the communities she served. In the Southwest Philadelphia's 16th District and the 5th District in the Roxborough neighborhood, she hosted events that focused on the needs of the community. She and her team were very focused on engaging with the youth and including them in tough discussions about community and law enforcement. They also addressed issues such as substance abuse and recovery, mental health wellness, and holistic health. Her team fostered stronger relationships between the officers and the community they served.
When Brown arrived at the 16th District, she learned more about the community's concerns and worked to tackle them immediately. She developed strategies with her counterparts to work directly where issues thrived, emphasizing better communication between parties. During the horrific shooting at Roxborough High School in 2022, Brown and her officers worked closely with community members, school police, and school officials to provide a sense of safety for the students. They made sure their presence was highly visible in the neighborhood and hosted community events to provide safe spaces for young people to gather and recover.
Although she misses direct community involvement, Brown is determined to work with the airport to make improvements in their shared responsibilities. She is excited to work with the officers who are assigned to the Airport Unit, learning from their institutional knowledge and different perspectives on policing. She will work with federal agencies to coordinate efforts and combat crime on a different level.
Brown's immediate goals are to continue the strong relationships with federal agencies and foster a stronger relationship with the airport community, ensuring passengers have a positive feeling when seeing the police and law enforcement agencies. "I want them to see us giving our absolute best," Brown states.