Sergeant Robert J. Harris

Sergeant Robert J. Harris

Nassau County Police Department, New York

End of Watch Wednesday, May 17, 1978

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Robert J. Harris

Sergeant Harris was killed in a helicopter accident when the police helicopter he was piloting developed engine problems and crashed near the Southern State Parkway. When the helicopter began to experience the engine problem Sergeant Harris declined an emergency landing at a school because children were nearby. The helicopter crashed as he attempted to locate an alternate location to land.

Sergeant Harris had served with the agency for 29 years and was survived by his wife.


  • Age 53
  • Tour 29 years
  • Badge 150

Incident Details

  • Cause Aircraft accident

Most Recent Reflection

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Shortly before his death, while working in S. Merrick, I received a call for a dog that had fallen through the ice in the Great South Bay and was desperately trying to climb back up on the ice. I called the air bureau, via land line and explained the situation to Sgt. Harris. I thought for sure I would be reprimanded for the call but instead, he thought it would be the humane thing to do and try and save the dog. I gave him my location, which happened to be in a cul de sac. He landed right there in the cul de sac with EMT Kenny Zwerling. We removed the door on the helicopter and they flew over the dog with a life ring and pulled the dog onto the pontoon. They once again landed and we put the dog in the PD and I headed to the TOH shelter red light and siren while Kenny did CPR. They put the dog in a tub of ice to revive him and off we went. On the way back to the 7th Pct., Kenny and I discussed what our new careers would be once the department found out what we did and fired us. Turns out, we became heroes. Kenny called some friends that were reporters and the story hit the newspapers. The next day, Sgt. Harris, with the helicopter, Kenny, me and Fonzi, the black lab, were on the front page of the
Post and Newsday. Turns out that Sgt. Harris spoke with the higher ups and convinced them that this was good public relations and we made several public appearances with Fonzi. Thank you Sgt. Harris!

P.O. Lawrence Addeo
7th Pct.

May 17, 2018

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