By Bonnie Culverhouse
Captain Julie Harmon knows her letters.
“(Chief Chester) Adcock hired me. Then I worked for (Chief T.C.) Bloxom and now (Chief Steve) Cropper,” said the 35-year veteran of the Minden Police Department. “That’s A, B and C. After the election, there will be no chief whose name starts with D, so it’s time to go home.”
Harmon holds the distinction as MPD’s only female captain. Her law enforcement career began as a patrol officer December 1, 1986 when Adcock hired her. She remained on patrol until she began teaching some of her other favorite letters: D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Program).
“I started teaching D.A.R.E. in 1991,” Harmon said. “That’s been one of the things I’ve most enjoyed about my career.”
Her favorite group was fifth grade – more so than junior high – but she taught in every school in Minden (and most in the parish), along with long-time friend Debbie Haynes. Harmon was D.A.R.E. officer for more than 30 years.
When she wasn’t teaching D.A.R.E. during the summer months and holidays, Harmon worked nights as a dispatcher.
Over the years, Harmon rose through the ranks of Officer First Class, Sergeant, Lieutenant and was promoted to Captain around 2005.
Harmon’s grandfather was a Homer police officer, and she has memories of riding in his patrol car. Otherwise, she is the only person in her family in law enforcement. Her reason is pretty simple.
“When I first got into law enforcement, I did it because I wanted to help people,” she said. “But then you get into it, you realize you can’t help people who don’t want to be helped.”
However, she remembers a time, while still on patrol, she was able to help a young woman who worked at a convenience store on Lewisville Road.
“She was new down there, and she was scared, so I would stop by several times a night to check on her,” Harmon said.
One night after midnight, Harmon stopped by to check on the clerk, and no one was there.
“I called back to headquarters that there was nobody at the store,” Harmon said. “Usually, you would walk in the store and she would be hiding in the back, sitting on a milk crate. That night, I went back there and she wasn’t there. Her car was in the parking lot, but she was gone.”
The clerk had been kidnapped and was later found safe in East Texas. Her kidnapper was arrested.
What will Capt. Harmon miss most about her job?
“The people I work with,” she said.
Chief Steve Cropper said from the first day he walked in the door, Harmon was his right-hand person.
“If I didn’t know what to do about something, she did because of all the years she spent here prior to me coming,” Cropper said. “She’s devoted almost 36 years of her life to this department, which is very admirable to me.
“She’s been a big asset to this department,” he continued, “and the city should be proud to have her for as long as they’ve had her.”
Harmon enjoys traveling with a small close-knit group of friends, and that will happen more often now. Her last day at MPD is Friday, the thirteenth. Her co-workers intend to honor her with a party at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 12 at the place she’s called her second home for 35 and a half years: the Minden Police Department.
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