Sgt. Robert Baron
The Officer Down Memorial Page
Robert W. Baron was born on September 10, 1966, to James Bernard and Karola (Loder) Baron of Simi Valley, CA. He graduated from California State, Northridge with a BA in Political Science and Public Administration. Early in his career, Baron worked as a Juvenile Probation Officer in Los Angeles County. Prior to moving to New Mexico, Baron worked as a Wildland Firefighter and as a Federal Park Service Ranger. As a Federal Park Ranger, Robert received the “Exemplary Act Award” for his quick actions in saving the life of a park visitor who suffered a major heart attack. Robert joined the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office in 2006 and was a dedicated Deputy, Detective and Sergeant, and he had a passion for improving the Sheriff’s Office. Assigned as a Detective, he was extremely diligent, hardworking, always answered the call and was conscientious of victims and their families while working all cases regardless of their seemingly insignificant importance or their high profile nature of a case, such as homicide. Robert loved his community, church and helping others. He dedicated time as a Boy Scout leader mentoring scouts and in law enforcement organizations such as Law Enforcement United, an organization committed to “Honor the Fallen, and Remember the Survivors.” He participated in the 2010 250+ mile Memorial Bicycle Ride ending in Washington D.C. Memorial, in memory of Sgt. Joe Harris in 2010.
On December 5, 2013, Robert had been dispatched to I-25 in response to reports of multiple, minor motor vehicle crashes and disabled vehicles under blizzard conditions. He was fatally injured when he was outside of his vehicle and struck by a motorist while assisting motorists and investigating the crashes.
He had served in law enforcement for a total of 25 years and is survived by his wife and son.
Sgt. Joseph “Joe” Harris, Sr.
The Officer Down Memorial Page
Joseph “Joe” Anthony Harris, Sr. was born in South Ozone Park, Brooklyn, New York to Arthur and Helen Harris. He grew up on Long Island with his big, Italian family. In the late 1970s, he moved to New Mexico with his parents and finished school at Cibola High School. In 1984, he joined the Rio Rancho Police Department and was one of the original Rio Rancho Police Officers. Harris was cross-trained in Law Enforcement/Fire Fighting and EMT. While at RRPD, he started the D.A.R.E. program, the G.R.E.A.T. program, Neighborhood Watch, McGruff the Crime Dog and worked with the Citizen Police Academy and any other program he could bring to the department that had to do with community safety. Sergeant Harris served with the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office for six years prior to his untimely death. While serving with Sandoval County, he started the D.A.R.E. program and was very instrumental in expanding Neighborhood Watch programs throughout the county.
Sergeant Harris was killed while working a Sheriff’s Office stakeout targeting the “Cookie Bandit”, who was an unidentified suspect in cabin burglaries in the Jemez area for over 6 years. Sergeant Harris, although mortally wounded by gunfire during the arrest, was able to return fire and kill the “Cookie Bandit” who was later identified as Joseph Henry Burgess. Burgess was wanted for a double homicide in Canada. Burgess is also a potential suspect for other murders in New Mexico, California, Arizona, and Oregon, and had eluded Law Enforcement for over 40 years.
He is survived by his wife and five children and is buried at Vista Verde Memorial Park in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.