Police Officer Donald R. Harbour

Police Officer Donald R. Harbour

Riley County Police Department, Kansas

End of Watch Monday, August 9, 1982

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Donald R. Harbour

Officer Donald Harbour was shot and killed while responding to a call from a pawn shop reporting a man attempting to sell a stolen rifle at 10:30 am.

When Officer Harbour arrived at the pawn shop, he noticed two men sitting in a car directly outside of the shop. He engaged the men and directed them to step out of the vehicle. The passenger of the vehicle then pulled out a handgun, and the driver began to drive away. The passenger and Officer Harbour exchanged fire; Officer Harbour was able to hit one of the tires and the body of the vehicle multiple times but took one return round in the chest, severing his aortic artery. An army medic happened to be nearby and rushed to Officer Harbour's aid but could not stop the bleeding, and Officer Harbour died within minutes of the shooting.

The two men in the car fled the scene, but due to the damage to their vehicle, wrecked shortly thereafter. Both bailed out of the vehicle, with the driver attempting to flee on foot and the shooter carjacking a woman and taking her hostage. The driver was apprehended after a short foot pursuit and was charged as an accessory to first-degree murder. The shooter led Riley County units, as well as State Patrol and Kansas Bureau of Investigation units, on a high-speed chase through the county. At some point, he forced the woman out of the car and continued his attempt to flee alone. However, driving down a highway, he saw that officers from a neighboring county, the State Patrol, and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation had set up a massive roadblock ahead of him. At that point, he shot himself in the head, killing himself before his vehicle veered into a tree.

The pawn shop owner held the man inside the pawn shop at gunpoint, and the man was arrested when officers arrived at the scene; he was charged with burglary and attempted to sell stolen goods. The driver was charged as an accessory.

Officer Harbour had served with the Riley County Police Department for 22 years. He was survived by his wife, two daughters, one grandchild, and four sisters.


  • Age 49
  • Tour 22 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Committed suicide


Most Recent Reflection

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The death in the line of duty of a young officer (Jonathan Diller) painfully yanked me back to another tragedy, the day I received a call from the R.C.P.D., Manhattan, KS. As Chaplaincy Coordinator for the Department, my heart sank for the first of many times regarding the loss of L.E.O.s over many years. Sorrow and pain return in power as I remember Sgt. Donald Harbour and think of the family surrounding Officer Diller.
Sgt. Harbour introduced me to the R.C.P.D. when Pastor Steve Washburn was called to leave the post. I would be the only, and second, chaplain, 10 years fresh to parish ministry, and a wet rooky. Don welcomed me with a giant handshake and equal smile. He escorted me to meet a plethora of wonderful people, soon to become dear friends. I could hardly remember a few names. Now, I can remember few, but what will never leave me is the assurance that I was welcome, respected and considered useful to the cause we all shared...service to the community of Riley County, KS.
I collected countless emotional and understanding treasures to cherish in my concluding years. But, tops is the friendship of my guide, mentor and hero; Sgt. Donald Harbour. Chaplains are few and far between now. Religious people are more suspected than many criminals. But, back in the good old day great men like Sgt. Harbour taught civilians, like me, to operate a Vascar speed recording device, take a gun away from a "perp", or talk on a unit radio (even if I had trouble learning the "10 Code". "Chappy" speaks English and Sgt. Harbour says it's O.K!
Law Enforcement and it's practitioners have changed in many ways over half a century. But, the spirit of great officer has not changed. They are among the most magnificent humans you'll ever meet. When you do, say "Thanks!". You don't have to be lucky to meet one like Sgt. Don Harbour. I know several in my neighborhood today. They are as varied as the citizens they serve and protect. They are outstanding in one mighty way....They'll rush into danger to save you, a total stranger, and they'll stick by you 'till the crisis is over.
This Christian Pastor & "Chappy" took this valuable lesson to heart. I finished formally in 2012, but still practice the ethos of the badge without any credential whatsoever, but the Cross of Christ. Sgt. Donald Harbour taught me more than all the professors of ministry on the way to 3 advanced degrees for the profession.
May God constantly stand all around our L.E.O. and their vital support persons! May we take comfort in knowing The Lord is their Partner even when they're alone on duty. May the Spirit of God care for them when they go home to rest, at end of a shift, or after their Last Watch. They let me walk/run beside them for a while.
They allowed me to feel the tension, danger and comradery. I lit my pipe when it was "smoke & joke" time, I got to serve a "donut day", before it became unspeakable fellowship. I will be forever grateful for Sgt. Donald R. Harbour and my heart still echos the great "Amen" we lifted on the day of his funeral....for we'll hear the choir again in Glory. I'll listen for his authoritative baritone might in praise of God Almighty!
Be blessed in Christ,
Dr. James "Chappy" Cramer

Volunteer Chaplain, DMin., James Cramer
Riley County Police Department, Kansas

March 28, 2024

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