Superior officer top narc
In the dark underworld of drug dealing, Jeff Harriman stands out among his peers. The Superior police investigator is Wisconsin's Narcotics Officer of the Year. "It's an honor, especially when it's coming from your peers - people that do the same...
In the dark underworld of drug dealing, Jeff Harriman stands out among his peers.
The Superior police investigator is Wisconsin's Narcotics Officer of the Year.
"It's an honor, especially when it's coming from your peers - people that do the same kind of work that you do - that you're respected for the work that you do," Harriman said. "It was totally a surprise. I didn't know it was coming."
The Wisconsin Narcotics Officers Association, based on a nomination by a fellow narcotics agent, bestowed the honor.
Harriman, who joined the police department in 2001 as a patrol officer, accepted assignment to the Lake Superior Drug Task Force in 2005, representing the Superior Police Department. He soon became one of Superior's primary narcotics officers.
When it comes to narcotics work, Harriman garnered the honor for taking every case to the limit of where it will go and doing a good job in all facets of an investigation -handling informants, undercover work, networking with other agencies and documenting the cases to bring drug dealers to justice.
Harriman also carries the distinction of making the largest undercover buy of cocaine in the region's history. His undercover work resulted in law enforcement seizing more than a pound of cocaine and charging two men in connection with the sale of the drugs at a Maple gas station. Kevin Ronald Baird, 30, of Oneida and Timothy W. Vaillancourt, 29, of Mason were each charged in April with one felony count of delivering cocaine as a party to a crime. Charges are still pending in Douglas County Circuit Court.
That was only one of Harriman's successes this year.
When Walter Price was running a crack house in Superior and feeding drugs to kids, Harriman was the case agent who built the case that finally resulted in a 10-year federal prison sentence for the dealer twice convicted on misdemeanor drug charges locally. During Price's sentencing in February, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb remarked that she couldn't understand why local authorities didn't consider Price's drug activity to be more serious based on the amount of drug evidence recovered during a search of his residence led by Harriman. The narcotics officer didn't give up. He led the investigation to build a historical conspiracy case in federal court when earlier investigations resulted in misdemeanor convictions, netting a day and two in the county jail. Harriman also built the case against Martavius Kelly, 24, who was a juvenile when he started selling for Price. He was sentenced to four years in federal prison in February.
Police believed Price was trading drugs for sex, according to Superior Investigations Capt. Chad La Lor.
But, the nomination for the award didn't come from the Superior Police Department.
According to Detective Sgt. Rick Hughes, Harriman's supervisor, an agent with the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation made the nomination because Harriman's excellent police work created his luck in bringing the cases to justice.
"There's more drugs in town than you know what to do with, but there's only limited resources and limited finances we have to work with," Harriman said.
For Harriman, the honor is nice for often unrecognized work to build a case from informants motivated by escaping legal trouble to get to the sources of the city's drug supply. Demand for drugs continues to bring more in a lucrative trade, but his goal is to cut off the supply.
"As chief of the police department, I am pleased to see one of my narcotics officers receive such a prestigious award, which brings credit to himself - not only himself but to our organization," said Police Chief Floyd Peters. "There are certainly many narcotics officers throughout the state of Wisconsin, so to have a member of our department selected from the entire state speaks highly of Jeff's skills, abilities and the success he's had and the hard work he does as a narcotics investigator ... It's difficult work. It's tedious work. It's dangerous work.
"That work is important to the entire fabric of our community."