Sheriff Brown in uniform 

William F. “Billy” Brown, Jr.
Junior School 1965 - 1969
St. Lawrence College: Michaelmas Term 1966 – Lent Term 1967 – Summer Term 1967

My father worked for Billy Graham and was in charge of setting up his All-Britain Crusade, which was held in London in June, 1967. Our family had moved to England from the U.S.A. in 1965 and we lived in London. About a year later a colleague of my father’s recommended that I should experience the unique education that a time-honoured British boarding school could provide. The rest, as they say, is history.

I began attending the Junior School in the Fall of 1966 at the age of 10 over half a century ago. What follows are some thoughts and memories of my time there.


Being a novelty as the only American at the school.

Being homesick.

The kindness of Headmaster and Mrs. Keith Roberts.

Regularly walking Mr Roberts’ dog.

Forbidden “Tuck” (sweets and a bottle of Lucozade) secretly stashed in my locker.

Playing the double base in a concert on a Thursday when I had my first lesson on the preceding Tuesday.

Sticking a half-eaten toffee on the stairway wall while headed through the tunnel to an assembly. Mr. Roberts found the half-eaten sweet and addressed the crowd, saying some “disgusting little boy” had put the toffee on the wall and he wanted the culprit to turn himself in. I did, and subsequently received “the stick” (one stroke) for the first and only time from Mr. Roberts. This was followed by a cup of tea and a biscuit with him! My only other corporal punishment was receiving three strokes of my rubber-soled slipper from Mr. Brenner for horseplay after lights out. I was not the only one involved and I believe I took those for the team. Fonder memories include exeat Sunday outings with my parents including visiting numerous antique shops and starting a lifelong passion for collecting military medals. My father saying he knew I was going to grow up to be a leader because when he and my mother fetched me for the final time, a group of my friends carried all of my luggage out to the car.

Teachers & Staff: I remember Mr. Gould (who always wrote with an aqua-inked fountain pen), Mr. Gillespie, Mr. Brenner, Mr. Rymer, Miss Coggan, and a kindly cook who name I cannot remember. If I asked she would make me fried bread for breakfast when everyone else was having toast.

Friends I remember: Jack Cameron-Wallace, Nickey Page, Simon Burke, Richard Ash and the Loveless brothers.

Letters Home:

After my parents both died recently, I went through their effects and found some letters that my mother had saved and that I written to them during my St. Lawrence Junior School days. These provide some humorous insight into the thought process of a 10-year old boarder. A few extracts:

13 Aug 1966 – “Please send me a pen, a penknife and £1…I am running short of money with all the expenses around (here).”

2 Oct 1966 – “Joined Electric Train Club. History “Modl” [sic] Club had no room, but trying to join. Haven’t yet got the stick because it requires five forfeits and I have none.”

16 Oct 1966 – “Football getting better, French not very well. Came in 12th in Quarterly Orders. Participating in Stamp Club and bought a “Penny Victoria.” Had a thunderstorm at the school “with lightening and all.”

23 Oct 1966 – “Am brushing my teeth every day. Busy at Stamp Club. We had 3/- worth of stamps free! Mister Gillespie, the music teacher, had a birthday. When we sang Happy Birthday he said, ‘You’ve all got the tune wrong!’ Had a lecture from an RAF pilot about “the latest stof” and survival kits.

6 Nov 1966 – “In sick bay for several days with a temperature. Cared for by Sister Celia Schmidt (and seen daily by Dr. Jepps).”

20 Nov 1966 – “Looking forward to Christmas. A boy at school had a “Batmobile” by Corgi. It had a chain-cutter and firing rockets. Here is what I’d like for Christmas: a batmobile, a radio and a load more things.” (I got the Batmobile).

27 Nov 1966 – “I came in eighth in Quarterly Orders again and am playing billiards quite a lot. It is very wet here and the swimming pool has been closed. The football pitches are as muddy as ever!!!”

Summer Term – 1967

26 Feb 1967 – Asked for a 5/- postal order for Stamp Club. “Have just about filled my stamp album and for Easter would like a First Day Cover album. French getting better. “

12 Mar 1967 – “Thank you for exeat last Sunday. Can’t wait for Quarterly Orders (five days away). Hope I get into the top five.” (My parents had bribed me by saying we would get a Yorkshire terrier if I made it into the top five.) Good time in Science class making plaster of Paris “moulds.” (Mine was of my cupped hand.)

19 Mar 1967 – “In chapel the organ has gone fut and there will be a piano instead.” “I have started a library and have 44 books. We played rugger against Cameron house yesterday and got thrashed. The films were “September Spring” (OK), “Secrets of the Plant World” (good) and “A Ship Comes to Antwerp” (dull). The extra films were “Rhino” and “The Ostrich Egg and I.”

30 Apr 1967 – “Still in Dorm R, Phew! Mr. Brenner has left and Mr. Rymer (who we called “Rhino”) took his place. No Stamp Club unless it rains. Swimming pool was painted and is very warm. Having cricket soon.”

7 May 1967 – “I think I would like a dog for my birthday and also a wildlife game and a Penny Black. Rain has been coming down in bucket loads.”

Undated – circa early July 1967 – “I came in 1st in Quarterly Orders! Will be in London on the 13th for the Royal Tournament. Had strawberries on Friday. Lovely!” (We did get the Yorkshire terrier – “Muffin” – which later travelled to America with us.)


My Life after St. Lawrence:

My father’s next assignment was in New York so we left England and lived in Eastchester and Bronxville, suburbs of New York City, for a year or so.

After that Dr. Graham selected my father to be the president of his motion picture ministry – World Wide Pictures - in Burbank, California. After a life of constant travel (I had 22 different homes by the time I was 14), we finally settled down in Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. At the age of 16 I took a high school class in ‘Police Role in Government’ taught by a Los Angeles Police officer. That and the television show ‘Adam 12’ sealed the deal and I decided that law enforcement was to be my career goal.

After high school I was still too young to be a police officer so I became an emergency medical technician and later a paramedic. Shortly after I turned 21, I began my law enforcement career with the Pacifica Police Department in the San Francisco Bay area. I worked there for 2 ½ years, met my future wife, Donna, married, and shortly afterwards transferred to the Inglewood Police Department in Los Angeles County.

Our family grew to five with the addition of two boys and a girl. I recognized the need for more formal education and attended university at nights and on weekends, obtaining a B.A. in Management from the University of Redlands and a Masters in Public Administration at the University of Southern California.

After 12 ½ years as a police officer, supervisor, manager and command officer for Inglewood P.D., I applied for and was selected as the Chief of Police for the City of Moscow, Idaho. This meant a change from an inner-city, high crime community to leading a law enforcement organization for a rural college town where we were also responsible for policing the University of Idaho. Whereas murders, robberies and other major crimes were commonplace in Inglewood, on my first day on the job in Moscow we had a report of a big bull moose running through a residential neighborhood.

Although we loved Idaho, we missed family in California, and 3 years later we returned there after I applied for and was selected as the Chief of Police for the City of Lompoc, California, a community in northern Santa Barbara County.

After 11 years of service, I ran for and was elected as Sheriff - Coroner of Santa Barbara County in 2006. I was re-elected in 2010 and 2014, and I will be seeking my fourth term in June of this year.

My experiences as Sheriff of Santa Barbara County have been the most rewarding of my professional life. In addition to providing front-line law enforcement to the unincorporated areas of the county and four contract cities, the Sheriff’s Office runs the County Jail and Coroner’s Bureau, provides security in the courts, and search & rescue services for a county of 440,000 people. We also provide specialized law enforcement services such as an Air Support Unit, a Special Enforcement (S.W.A.T.) Team, a Dive Unit, a Bomb Squad, Hostage Negotiations Team, and K-9 Units.

As Sheriff I continue to have a myriad of extraordinary opportunities, such as overseeing the construction of a new jail, managing several high-profile murder and mass murder investigations, and leading our agency through the financial devastation of the Great Recession and no fewer than a dozen major wildfires – including the recent Thomas Fire. I am currently the president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association, and have previously served as president of the California Police Chiefs’ Association. I am humbled to be the only person ever elected by peers to both positions. I am also pleased to ride with our Mounted Enforcement Unit which culminated in January of 2017 with the rare privilege of participating in the world famous Rose Parade in Pasadena. I am proud to lead a very fine group of men and women who serve with much professionalism, empathy for others, dedication and honor.

This past November while on vacation in England, my wife and I made an impromptu visit to St. Lawrence. We were graciously received and given a wonderful tour of the Junior School and College. Though much has changed, the visit brought back fond memories from 50 years ago of an experience in my life that, at a remarkably young age, prepared me in so many ways for the challenges that were ahead. I came away from that visit pleased to know that St. Lawrence College and its Junior School continues its legacy of excellence in preparing generation after generation of students to meet the challenges that they will face in the future.

Sheriff Bill Brown

Santa Barbara County, California

Copyright St Lawrence College 2018