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Maxie L. Patterson

Maxie (Max) L. Patterson was born on June 12, 1944 in Detroit, Michigan to Myra and Harry Patterson. He was active in the science club, the marching band and achieved the rank of Master Sergeant in the ROTC. He graduated from Munford High School in 1962 and enrolled in Ferris State College, which he attended for two years. After leaving college, Patterson worked for the Ford Motor Company.

Patterson enlisted in the United States Army in 1967 and was assigned to counterintelligence. He is a decorated Vietnam War veteran and is retired from the United States Army Reserve with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer.

Patterson returned to college after the military. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in public administration in 1973 and 1977 from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. While attending Michigan State University, Patterson worked for the police department. In 1976, he was offered a job as the Police Chief of Albion, Michigan. Three years later, in 1979, he became the Police Chief of Windsor, Connecticut. After seven years, Patterson was persuaded to accept a position as Assistant City Manager of Beaumont, Texas, where he also served as the city’s Coordinator of the Minority Business Enterprise Program until 1989.

Patterson moved to Houston, Texas in 1989 to become Deputy Chief Administrative Officer. In 1991, he was appointed as interim Director of Housing and Community Development. From July 1992 to 1995, Patterson served as the Deputy Director and City Treasurer and ultimately was appointed City Treasurer. He worked as the fiduciary of the city’s three pension systems. In 1997, Patterson was hired as Executive Director of Houston’s Firefighter’s Retirement Fund until 2005 when he became the Executive Director of Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems.

Patterson lives in Houston, Texas with his wife Deborah. They have four children.

Patterson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 9, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.060

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/9/2007

Last Name

Patterson

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Schools

Sampson Elementary School

Samuel C. Mumford High School

Hally Magnet Middle School

Michigan State University

First Name

Maxie

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

PAT06

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

6/12/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ribs

Short Description

Police officer and city government administrator Maxie L. Patterson (1944 - ) served as police chief of Albion, Michigan and Windsor, Connecticut. Patterson was later appointed as the Deputy Director and City Treasurer of Houston, and was ultimately appointed as the Executive Director of Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems.

Employment

Police Department

Houston Firefighters' Relief and Retirement Fund

Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems

Southwest Athletic Conference

Conference USA

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Maxie L. Patterson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Maxie L. Patterson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Maxie L. Patterson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Maxie L. Patterson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Maxie L. Patterson describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Maxie L. Patterson lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Maxie L. Patterson remembers shopping with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Maxie L. Patterson describes his mother's career

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Maxie L. Patterson describes his relationship with his father

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Maxie L. Patterson remembers the apartment building his father owned

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Maxie L. Patterson describes his schooling in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Maxie L. Patterson describes his neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Maxie L. Patterson recalls P.J.M. Halley Elementary School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Maxie L. Patterson describes his early pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Maxie L. Patterson recalls his elementary schools

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Maxie L. Patterson recalls the Trinity Youth Center band

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Maxie L. Patterson describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Maxie L. Patterson remembers Samuel C. Mumford High School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Maxie L. Patterson recalls his college aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Maxie L. Patterson remembers Ferris State College in Big Rapids, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Maxie L. Patterson recalls working at the Ford Motor Company

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Maxie L. Patterson remembers the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Maxie L. Patterson remembers leaving Ferris State College

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Maxie L. Patterson recalls his enlistment in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Maxie L. Patterson talks about his leadership positions

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Maxie L. Patterson describes his role as a counterintelligence agent in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Maxie L. Patterson recalls his basic training at Fort Knox in Kentucky

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Maxie L. Patterson remembers his father's death

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Maxie L. Patterson remembers leaving the Ford Motor Company

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Maxie L. Patterson recalls his decision not to become a helicopter pilot

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Maxie L. Patterson remembers his counterintelligence training

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Maxie L. Patterson recalls his admission to Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Maxie L. Patterson describes his counterintelligence duties in Vietnam

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Maxie L. Patterson describes the U.S. military's Phoenix Program

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Maxie L. Patterson remembers his U.S. military promotion

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Maxie L. Patterson talks about the U.S. Army's domestic intelligence programs

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Maxie L. Patterson remembers Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Maxie L. Patterson recalls becoming the police chief of Albion, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Maxie L. Patterson remembers serving as the police chief of Windsor, Connecticut

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Maxie L. Patterson describes his community involvement in Albion, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Maxie L. Patterson remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Maxie L. Patterson describes his religious activities

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Maxie L. Patterson talks about his membership in professional organizations

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Maxie L. Patterson recalls working in the City of Beaumont, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Maxie L. Patterson describes his affirmative action work in the City of Beaumont

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Maxie L. Patterson recalls working in the finance department of the City of Houston, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Maxie L. Patterson recalls managing pension plans for the City of Houston

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Maxie L. Patterson talks about the Enron Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Maxie L. Patterson remembers the Enron Corporation's bankruptcy

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Maxie L. Patterson describes the Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Maxie L. Patterson talks about his interest in singing

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Maxie L. Patterson describes his volunteer activities

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Maxie L. Patterson talks about the American Red Cross

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Maxie L. Patterson talks about officiating football games

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Maxie L. Patterson describes his children

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Maxie L. Patterson talks about his awards and honors

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Maxie L. Patterson shares a message to future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Maxie L. Patterson describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Maxie L. Patterson narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

8$1

DATitle
Maxie L. Patterson remembers his U.S. military promotion
Maxie L. Patterson recalls becoming the police chief of Albion, Michigan
Transcript
(Simultaneous) So you learned to speak Vietnamese very well.$$Well, the, the way the [U.S.] military operates they, they, they lessened it because when I got over there, they gave me an interpreter, and my interpreter was Vietnamese, and he didn't wanna speak Vietnamese, he wanted to learn English, and so I didn't get to use it as much as I really wanted to. And then my last three months, my boss, who was up at division headquarters, called me up and says, he says, "I'm really--." He says, "I hate to do this to you," and he says, "I won't do it if you tell me you don't wanna do it, but--," he says--he was located at the--what they call the division tactical operation center where you're working with--there's a two star generals there and, and, and in the intelligence section, there is usually him and he has a, a junior captain working underneath him, and a couple other people, and he says, "We're outta people. I don't have any more officers up here," and he says, "I need you to help me; come back up and help me." And he says, "I know you got a good deal down there" (laughter), "and I hate to pull you back," he says, "but I won't do it if you don't wanna come." And I says, "Captain, I'll come, no problem." And the guy's name was Captain Miles Cortez, and we have communicated to this day, and he actually took my daughter [Laurel Patterson] in for the summer while she was a student at Colorado State University [Fort Collins, Colorado], 'cause he's an attorney in Denver [Colorado], and we have maintained the kind of relationship from that time way back in '69 [1969] to today. And I came back up, went up to division headquarters, and we finished out three months there and--dodging incoming rounds underneath the table. They had those old, metal, gray government tables, and when the rounds start coming in, you dive underneath the table until there was a break, and then you make a mad dash for the bunker until--and that was a, a daily routine you go through. And so I managed to go through twelve months of Vietnam, stayed intact, never get shot at, and did some crazy, stupid things, and went on operations I didn't have to go on, and went up and down roads I didn't have to go on, and saw how the state department [U.S. Department of State] operates and how (unclear) operates and, and saw how political and how much the civilian side state department influenced the war [Vietnam War], compared to the military side.$You're getting ready to--I think we were at the point where you were getting your master's [degree] from Michigan State [Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan].$$Okay. I was almost ready, getting close to graduation--$$Um-hm.$$--and I had planned on career wise, going into higher education; that's what I wanted to do was work in higher education, and a friend of mine--I was also in a, in a [U.S.] military reserve unit; at the time I came back from Vietnam, I went in the [U.S.] Army Reserve, and it was a criminal investigation unit in Jackson, Michigan and a, and a friend of mine there said that there was an opening as a police chief in Albion, Michigan and I ought to apply for it, and I says, "I don't wanna be a police chief." He said, "You should apply for it," and so, to make a long story short, he talked me into it. And Albion is a small community, about four square miles, population twelve thousand.$$Spell the name of it.$$A-L-B-I-O-N.$$Okay.$$And most notably, if anybody knows about it, it's probably because Albion College [Albion, Michigan] is located there. And so I applied for the job and--thinking that there's no way I--patrolman for six years, I'm not a sergeant, not a lieutenant, and I'm a, you know--but I went on ahead--they talked me into it and they said--the other element he had was they were looking for a, a, a, a minority as police chief. And so as the process went along, I got a call from a friend of mine in Battle Creek [Michigan] who I had gotten to know while I was at Michigan State. When I was at Michigan State, I used to work on what they call police community relation teams, and did a lot in the community, both on campus and in Lansing [Michigan], working on police community relations. And the Battle Creek Police Department hired a civilian who was a retired colonel from the [U.S.] Army who was their police community relations person. Back in those days, there was a need for police community relations because of all the issues going on between community and police. And so he called me up and told me, he said, "I understand you're a candidate for the chief job," and I said, "Yeah, how do you know?" And he says, "That's all right, don't worry about it." He says, "I'm on the selection team." And so, as we continued through the process, to make a long story short, what came down to three finalists, and I found this out after, after I was selected, he told me what had happened and, and basically he says, "When you got down to the three of you--." He said, "The way you made it into the three is," he said, "we were making a short list of the finalists, and" he says, "I confronted the other members of the selection committee," he said, "because (unclear) it was all rigged." He said, "There was a captain, and his lieutenant was one of the candidates," and he says, "that wasn't right." And he says--so he confronted the guy and he said, "If your guy stays in then my guy stays in," so I was left in the pool. And he said this whole thing about hiring a minority was just a ruse; they just wanted to make it look good. He said, "That's why they left you in the first place, 'cause they knew you wouldn't be selected 'cause you didn't have the supervisory." He says, "But I highlighted all of your military training and," and he said, "that made you equally or more qualified than the other ones they were looking at." And so we went in--the three of us went in; the third one was somebody from New York, and he dropped out after they shortlisted the three, and then the city manager picked the other lieutenant from the other department, and they gave him everything he wanted except when they went up to the city council to approve it, he had asked for a contract, and the city council said, "We'll give you everything but we're not giving you a contract." And so he said, "Forget it, I don't want it," and so I got the job by default (laughter). And so I went from patrolman at Michigan State University overnight, to a police chief in Albion, Michigan. And I started out there, and that's about twelve thousand--population is twelve thousand, and they had a host of issues; they had a railroad track that went down the middle of town, they had a history of blacks being on one side of the tracks and whites on the other side of the tracks, the state had a welfare office in town, there was one high school; it had all of the demographics you would want--it had a sizeable Hispanic population, black populations, white; it went from very poor--as poor as you can get, to as rich as you can get with private street, big houses, and the police department, the previous chief had been fired--a number of incidents. The--there was a state civil rights investigation going on, there was a couple of lawsuits against officer abuse that was underway, and it was an old community that went all the way back to the Roaring '20s [1920s] and still had red bricks in the middle of main street, so that's how I started out my career in--as a police chief, and was there for three years. And it'd make another four hours just talking about what had went on there.$$(Laughter).