Hollister Police Chief David Westrick recalled his time working with former Hollister police officer Chad Browning, arrested Sunday while accused of driving a stolen car onto a sports field near local Pop Warner teams before an officer shot at his vehicle.
“He, unfortunately, has had a lot of trouble,” Westrick said Monday referring to Browning’s time after he left the local police department.
The chief said Browning was employed at the Hollister department in 2003 when Westrick arrived and that he left in 2006 or 2007. He said he had not talked to Browning in about a decade.
Browning is accused of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, methamphetamine possession and auto theft in the case. Two days before the incident at Gilroy High School, Browning had been arrested on suspicion of battery on a peace officer and cocaine possession in the Santa Nella area, according to the Merced County Sheriff’s Office.
Westrick was aware of Browning’s troubles in Merced County and also prior legal problems in Fresno County, where Browning most recently resided, due to communication with authorities in those areas.
“Anytime anybody has any kind of problem with this, you want to see them get the help,” Westrick said.
He said he wasn’t referring to anything specific, such as drug issues, but did note that Browning has had personal problems going back many years after he left the police department.
“He left in (2006 or 2007) because he was having some personal problems,” Westrick said.
Westrick said Browning had worked as a patrol officer with the Hollister Police Department.
“I would hope that this young man gets some help and, really, it kind of shows you that anybody in any profession can have these kind of problems,” the chief said. “I feel sorry for the folks that were affected by this and, hopefully, just for the sake of his family and his friends, I hope he gets that help.”
Mug shot courtesy of the Gilroy Police Department