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Former Deputy Police Superintendent Ira Harris Dies

Ira Harris, former Deputy police Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, whose law enforcement career spanned several decades, died December 4, 2017.

Harris, a longtime law enforcement professional who served a long, distinguished career with the City of Chicago, was born December 5, 1924 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Harris served the City of Chicago as Deputy Police Superintendent of the Department of Community Services, was head of security at the Chicago Aviation Department at O’Hare Airport and Chief of the Chicago Housing Authority.

Harris came to Chicago, Illinois in 1945, after serving in the United States Navy.

In October 1954, Harris joined the Chicago Police Department. He rose through the ranks as Patrolman, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Director and Deputy Superintendent of Police.

He soon became a man on a mission and his rise in star power was imminent. His diligence and professional knowledge paid off, catching the attention of Police Superintendent Matt L. Rodriquez and Mayor Richard M. Daley. He brought rock-solid professionalism to the Chicago Police Department, and afterwards, was appointed to head-up security in several city agencies, including those of the city’s Aviation Department at O’Hare Airport and the Chicago Housing Authority.

Harris was appointed to the Chicago Police Department Bureau of Community Services by Police Supt. Matt l. Rodriguez when Rodriguez was named by Mayor Richard M. Daley as Superintendent of Police over Chicago’s 12,500-member department.

Harris was a law enforcement professional that served and shared his people skills and knowledge to law enforcement professionals across the country, including Washington, D.C.

Harris was a man of great humility and integrity. But his law enforcement career didn’t end after retiring from the CPD in 1988.Upon retiring from the Chicago Police Department he was appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation, in charge of Safety and Security of Chicago’s three airports.  Harris was next appointed to chief of police of the Chicago Housing Authority Police Department in 1990.

He also held a position at NOBLE, a national organization of black law enforcement executives.

Harris joined NOBLE in February 1977 and served in various executive positions at chapter, regional and national levels. He was elected national president in 1984, after having served as acting director in August 1992 until a permanent director was appointed.

Harris was married to Hazel Harris, his beloved wife of 38 years, who died in June 1993.  After the death of his wife, he returned to NOBLE’s National Office as assistant director and was appointed director in April 1994.  He served in the position until January 1998.

Harris served well the City of Chicago and shared his mega talents, people skills, knowledge, and career with so many law enforcement professionals and law enforcement agencies across the country, including Washington, D.C. He was the recipient of many awards, accolades and recognition, and had the highest respect of his peers and colleagues.


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