Dallas Police Chief David Brown retires Tuesday after 33 years in law enforcement and six years at the helm of one of the largest police departments in the country.
"It's hard taking the uniform off. It's an emotional roller coaster," Brown said. "But the time is right. I feel like I've accomplished laying the groundwork for building upon community policing."
Brown spearheaded the community policing initiative, and many across the country will remember him for his strength and leadership after the ambush on officers that left five dead on July 7.
But there is so much more to his story.
Before he wore the badge, Brown was a boy growing up in southern Dallas.
"Very smart and intelligent, and we knew he was going to be somebody," said Teresa Steward, a former classmate at South Oak Cliff High School.
Brown's classmate, Joe Colbert, says he was quiet and focused.
The latest news from around North Texas.
"It's rare that someone as quiet would be as popular," Colbert said. "He always had that commanding presence. You knew when David Brown was in the room."
In 1979, Brown headed to the University of Texas at Austin to pursue law. But summers spent back home in Oak Cliff opened his eyes to the crack cocaine epidemic. And he turned his gaze on police work.
"Some of our friends were becoming hooked on drugs at that time," Colbert said.
Brown wanted to be part of the change. He joined the police department in 1983 before becoming a SWAT sergeant.
From sergeant to lieutenant to chief, the people who know him say he never forgot where he came from. Brown made community policing his priority, bringing it back to his neighborhood.
Thirty-three years of service later, his friends say he'll be remembered as a man who stayed close to home to make it better.
"He had the intellect to make a difference in our city, here in Dallas, and so we're not surprised," Steward said.
Brown hasn't announced what he will do after he leaves the police force.