Harris’ memory lives on

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 1, 2008

MURFREESBORO – The time has finally come.

Soon a small stretch of road here will bear the name of a man who protected and served his community for more than two decades.

At a recent Murfreesboro Town Council meeting, council members approved Truitt Street in the Jay Trail neighborhood to be renamed to Chief Harris Trail.

The name is in honor of the late Robert Edward “Ed” Harris Jr. who served as Chief of the Murfreesboro Police Department (MPD) for 17 years.

Harris first came on board with the MPD in 1969 and was promoted to Sergeant in 1971. In 1979 he became the Chief of Police.

He was a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Academy (1978) and Advanced Law Enforcement Training (1979).

Harris passed away of cancer in 1996 at the age of 52.

“They (the community) knew they could always count on him,” said Roseleen Harris, the widow of Chief Harris.

Roseleen remembered her husband’s dedication to the community as he would check in on the elderly and children who got into trouble.

“If we had a snowstorm he would be out all night,” she said.

At MPD, Chief Harris’ memory is still alive in those who worked with him.

Current MPD Chief Darrell Rowe said several employees Chief Harris hired, including himself, are still with the department.

“He was definitely what we call old school, he was from that generation before all the technology,” he said. “He was always good to his employees.”

Rowe continued with one thing he remembered about Chief Harris, the fact that he was always there if one of his officers needed assistance no matter what time of day or night and all too often he was the first one there.

“He was there instantly in full uniform,” he said. “Chief Harris was always going to be there, which is very important to a police officer.”

“All of us here still miss him,” said Rowe.

Roseleen said she began effort to get the street named in her husband’s honor a few years ago.

When she first approached the town council about it they informed her Truitt Street had to be finished and then turned over to the town.

Three years later and all formalities aside, for Roseleen and those who knew Chief Harris, the wait is over.

Roseleen praised the Town Council for approving Chief Harris Trail.

“It’s nice of the Town Council to do this in memory of Ed,” said Roseleen.

Rowe also commended the actions of the council.

“I appreciate the board for doing it,” he said.

Roseleen, who lives near what is soon to be Chief Harris Trail, said the road seemed a good fit as he lived in the neighborhood.

“He thought a lot of the town and the town thought a lot of him,” said Roseleen.