The Officer Down Memorial Page
The following are excertps from Joe's biography:
Joseph "Joe" Anthony Harris, Sr. was born in South Ozone Park, Brooklyn, New York to Arthur and Helen Harris. He grew up on Long Island with his big Italian family. In the late 1970s, he moved to New Mexico with his parents and finished school at Cibola High School. He worked at Spartan Technologies for a couple of years in Rio Rancho until he decided he wanted to be a either a Marine or a Police Officer. He applied to both the Marines and the Albuquerque Police Department and decided that whoever called him first would be the one he went with; so, he became an APD officer. He started with Rio Rancho Police soon after, in 1984, and was one of the first dozen or so original Rio Rancho police officers. He immediately decided that community relations were his calling. He started the D.A.R.E. program and continued to run the G.R.E.A.T. program, Neighborhood Watch, McGruff the Crime Dog, the Citizen Police Academy and any other program he could bring to the department that had to do with community safety. He was also a patrol officer and cross-trained in fire fighting and EMT. He served for 20 years with the Rio Rancho Police Department and retired in 2004. He had to wait a mandatory 90 days before he could start with law enforcement again. On day 91, he was sworn in as a deputy with Sandoval County. When people asked him why he kept doing it, he just replied, "I'm not done yet." Joe died a hero, doing exactly what he wanted to be doing.