Brooks' mother is a native of Pratt City. Before coming to Birmingham, Brooks was a fire chief in Michigan City, Indiana (1979 - 1987); Evanston, Illinois (1987 - 1991); Alhambra, California (1991 - 1994) and San Jose, California (1994 - 1995). He joined the Birmingham Fire & Rescue Service as a deputy chief in 1996, declining an offer to interview for a similar job in Pasadena, Calfornia. He was promoted to chief after the retirement of Oscar Brennan 15 months later.
As Birmingham's fire chief, Brooks commanded a department with over 700 sworn personnel, 30 stations, and an annual budget of over $40 million. He led projects to bring emergency medical transport under the city's jurisdiction and initiated a city-wide exercise to train emergency responders for a terrorist scenario involving a weapon of mass destruction. He secured federal grants for improved radio communications and other equipment. He resigned because he did not receive a pay raise from the city during his tenure.
Brooks has a bachelor of science in fire science management from Southern Illinois University and has completed training at the National Fire Academy and two years of management studies at Purdue University in Westville, Indiana.
Brooks announced his candidacy for mayor in early August 2007. His main platform issues were reducing crime, expanding economic development, and encouraging college graduates to remain in the city. Brooks was endorsed by the Birmingham chapter of the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters. He ended up with 42 of 52,111 votes cast, finishing 9th of 10 candidates.
In 2009 Brooks became one of the finalists to fill the Birmingham City Council District 7 seat left vacant by the death of Miriam Witherspoon. Later that year he was appointed to sit on the board of the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District.
In September 2018 Brooks again applied for a vacancy on the Council left by the resignation of Jay Roberson. Wardine Alexander was selected to fill the seat. Brooks qualified to challenge Alexander in the 2019 Birmingham municipal election.
|Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service Chief
- Bryant, Joseph D. (August 12, 2007) "Former fire chief wants to be mayor." The Birmingham News
- Niolet, Benjamin (July 2, 2002) "Mayor gives department heads $270,000 in raises." The Birmingham News
- "New fire chief Brooks took Birmingham over Pasadena" (December 17, 1997) The Birmingham News
- Bryant, Joseph D. (September 25, 2007) "Ex-fire chief offers bold action for city." The Birmingham News