Curtis Brame, Nathaniel Clark, Sam Lathrop, Selvain McQueen and Robert Spinks.
Those are the five names circulating throughout the city of Columbus, the five recommendations in the heavily-discussed Columbus police chief search.
After the city released the names at Tuesday’s Columbus City Council meeting and local media outlets reported the recommendations of a 21-person committee, newspaper articles and court documents surfaced regarding past allegations and controversies.
Brame, of North Chicago, Ill., started his career with the North Chicago Police Department in 1985, and rose through the ranks from patrol officer to deputy chief. Along the way, he held positions including: investigator; sergeant assistant shift commander; master sergeant in investigations; lieutenant shift commander; and Patrol Division commander. He served as the department’s deputy chief from 2001-2005 and currently holds the title of Support Services Division commander.
Brame’s time with the North Chicago Police Department is not without a documented bump in the road, though.
The potential Columbus police chief filed a complaint against the city of North Chicago, the city’s mayor and the police chief in 2009. The complaint, under the Whistleblower Act, alleges the chief “retaliated against him for disclosing information to the mayor concerning what (Brame) believes was criminal activity committed by the chief,” reads a legal opinion filed Sept. 6, 2011.
The former lieutenant opened up about the situation in a phone interview Thursday, saying he had not spoken to media about the subject prior to the interview, and claimed it is “not something I am proud of.”
According to Brame, he wants the officers he supervises to do their duty, and tells them, “If you see a crime, your job is to either make an arrest or report the crime. If you don’t do that, then I’m going to hold you accountable for it.”
This set of principles required him to live by the same code.
“Unfortunately I was put in a situation where I received information that I had to either report it or do nothing,” Brame said. “If I did nothing, then I would be hypocritical in that I’m not living based on what I preach to my officers. So, I had to take a stand … I had to make that choice in that situation, but it doesn’t give me great pleasure to be in the situation.”
Considering the three homicides reported during a five-day span in September, and the ongoing investigations stemming from the three incidents, Brame said he is no stranger to investigating homicides.
“I used to command the investigation unit. I was part of a major crime task force which investigated homicides across the county,” he said.
“When I was in the task force, we solved all our major cases.”
According to Brame, focusing on the small percentage of citizens that often cause trouble in the community and commit crimes is a good start in homicide investigations.
“In any community, there’s 9 percent of the population that creates all the problems. You have to focus on that 9 percent,” he said.
The role of police chief is absent from Brame’s resume, but holding that title is his “career goal.” However, he said he isn’t just looking for any chief job.
“I’m looking for an area that might be a good fit for my family and a good fit for the organization,” he said in the phone interview. “I’m not just looking for any chief job. I’m looking for a job where I can fit in with the community and an environment that fits right for my family.”
Before working in North Chicago, Brame served as a U.S. Army military police officer from 1977-1979 and then a U.S. Army military criminal investigator from 1979-1981. He then served as a Veteran’s Administration police officer from 1981-1984 and a Department of Defense police officer from 1984-1985. Brame — who is originally from Chicago — earned a degree in Criminal Justice Administrations in 2007 from Columbia College of Missouri and started his career in 1977 as a military police officer. Brame has a wife and three children.
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