Accolades for the late deputy were plentiful from several speakers at the ceremony on the Joe Harris Elementary campus.
“He had a love for Rio Rancho, a love for the community, a love as a public servant, and so we put Joe in the schools,” lauded Mike Baker, chief operating officer for Rio Rancho Public Schools and a one-time Rio Rancho Department of Public Safety colleague and boss of Harris. “And what an impact. The kids absolutely adored Joe — even though he was a big, burly guy, they would run up to him and he worked magic with the kids and opened doors for us to expand that school resource officer program.”
Joe Harris Jr., who followed his late father into law enforcement, told the crowd how one recent day he had returned to his Rio Rancho home and found a car he didn’t recognize in his driveway. Inside the home, his son Dominic was showing off a new birthday present he’d received from a teacher at Puesta del Sol Elementary.