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New Durham officer goes from battlefield to battling crime

Posted July 14, 2011
Updated July 15, 2011

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— A recent report showed the state's crime rate has dropped to its lowest level in more than 30 years. On Thursday night, Durham police graduated a new class of officers whose task is to drive those numbers down even more.

Among them was a military veteran who has gone from the battlefield to battling crime.

Like so many little boys, Maurice Harris grew up with the dream of becoming a police officer. After high school, he joined the armed forces and served for about six years, including a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Lady Justice, court generic, law generic 2010 NC crime rate report

He plans to use his experience in the military to help police the communities in Durham.

"I look at being a police officer as being positive, and if I can be that, then that's my dream," he said.

Leah Harris said she is cautiously optimistic about her son's new job.

"(I'm) just a little bit" scared, she said. "I think that's just natural."

New Durham officer goes from battlefield to battling crime New Durham officer goes from battlefield to battling crime

Harris said he understands that, while rewarding at times, police work can be grueling and sometimes gruesome.

"I did a tour in Afghanistan. Durham can't be much worse than Afghanistan," he said. "It's something I chose to do, so if I have to make a major sacrifice, it’s something in my mind I know I’m already ready to do."

In 2010, Durham County's crime rate fell 5.3 percent to 5,582.5 crimes per 100,000 people. The overall rate of crime per 100,000 people in North Carolina fell by 5.6 percent from 2009 to 2010, while violent crime dropped 10.2 percent and property crime went down 5.3 percent.

Those numbers are based on data submitted by law enforcement agencies across North Carolina to the State Bureau of Investigation.


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  • schlitzmalt Jul 15, 2011

    Thank you for your service Maurice, both in the military and on the police squad!

  • BrightLight Jul 15, 2011

    A refreshing story after all the bad press law enforcement officers have been getting lately.

  • voiceofreason32 Jul 15, 2011

    wow, didn't realize so many people hated veterans...or as the ignorant put it "ex military"

  • freedom monkey Jul 15, 2011

    It's very difficult to transition from the military mindset to the law enforcement mindset. They are purposely hiring ex military for law enforcement to crack down on the American people like they do in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, Yemen, and soon to a town near you!

  • webberx101 Jul 15, 2011

    will be perfect for marshal law... prisonplanet.com

  • mrlee34 Jul 15, 2011

    Well....isn't that just special! More militarized police!! Yay!

  • crand2003 Jul 15, 2011

    Now you can abuse your powers of arrest by arresting innocent citizens who did nothing wrong, just like the rest of Durham Police officers.

  • ifuaintscared Jul 15, 2011

    Cool guy.

  • Con Amor brings luv and laughter Jul 15, 2011

    Thank your for serving our country and community!

  • 45ACP Jul 15, 2011

    No where in the article or interview does it mention that he is a Marine. Just Armed Forces.....could be any of them.