HARNEY, HARRISON HANNIBAL (26 June 1896-24 Sept. 1990) was an original member of the Cleveland Police Department homicide unit, organized in 1926, and the first African American promoted to detective on the Cleveland Police Force.
Born in Pulaski, Tenn., Harney was raised by a brother in Birmingham, Ala. and attended Talladega College in Talladega, Ala. Harney moved to Cleveland from Youngstown in 1918.
In 1922 Harney became a Cleveland policeman and served on the force for 36 years. He was promoted to detective in 1924 after a shootout with four robbers in a drugstore at E. 36th St. and Carnegie Ave. Harney fatally shot one robber, wounded a second, and wrestled a third to the floor as the fourth fled. Together with Horace Jenkins, his career partner, Harney investigated more than 1,000 homicides, including the assassination of Councilman William Potter in 1931, the infamous TORSO MURDERS on KINGSBURY RUN in the 1930s, and the SHEPPARD MURDER CASE. They received commendations from ELIOT NESS for their work.
Harney used his free time to work in the community, sponsoring athletic teams for youths who called him "Pops." Harney retired from the force in 1958 and worked as a bail bondsman. He deplored the changes in the police force after his retirement. He felt that the police were too quick to use their guns instead of their heads and had stopped building rapport with people on their beats.
Harney married Mary Bell in 1917. They had five children, Kenneth, Nathaniel, Alice, Barbara and Leonard. Harney lived in Cleveland and is buried in Highland Park Cemetery.