Roy Harris started his law enforcement career in 1971 in the United States Army as a criminal investigator. He later worked as a patrol officer, and joined the Georgia Department of Public Safety in 1973. He rose through the ranks of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation retiring on August 1, 2002 as Deputy Director where he commanded the Bureau’s Investigative Division. During his career at GBI, he worked all areas of investigation. He has considerable training and experience in tactical operations as well as managing large-scale critical incidents.
Harris holds a BS in Criminal Justice from Georgia Southern University, and a Masters in Public Administration. In 1998 he was inducted into the Pi Alpha Alpha National Honors Society for Public Administration. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College, the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Development program and the Southern Police Institute. He is a POST certified public manager and police instructor.
Harris is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and served for three years as a member of that organization’s Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Committee, meeting annually with congressional committees on drug enforcement issues, funding and enactment of laws. He is a member of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police and is a life member of the Peace Officers Association of Georgia. In 2001 he was elected President of the National Association of State Drug Enforcement Agencies.
Upon his retirement from the GBI in 2002, Harris became a law enforcement specialist for the Carl Vinson Institute of Government of the University of Georgia. In 2010, he was appointed as an Adjunct Professor with the Institute of Government. Harris is a frequent instructor at the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia, and a guest lecturer for local agencies.
Harris was hired as the Director of Drug Enforcement for Chatham County and commanded the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team in April 2007. He remained in that capacity until retiring December 31, 2010.
On June 17, 2011, Harris, again came out of retirement to be appointed Chief Deputy of the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office by the late veteran Sheriff, Al St. Lawrence.
Sheriff Harris has forty years of law enforcement experience dealing with a variety of governments on the Federal, state and local level. He has worked police operations with agencies in Georgia having only one officer to larger agencies such as the Atlanta Police Department. He has participated in many of the major events in Georgia during the past four decades, such as the Organization of American States conference in Atlanta, the Democratic National Convention, the 1994 flood and body recovery operation where 415 human remains were unearthed and had to be identified, the 1996 Olympics, the Tri-State Crematory investigation where 342 human remains were discovered, numerous college spring break gatherings as “Freeknik” with several hundred thousand of participants, super-bowls games, Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations, civil rights marches, KKK demonstrations, riots, investigations of serial killers, and gruesome mass murder crime scenes.