SILVER LAKE — Family members and friends paid tribute to a retired village police lieutenant who passed away earlier this month.

Carl Harrison died on Aug. 16 at the age of 62.

Mr. Harrison, who lived in Cuyahoga Falls, worked for the Silver Lake Police Department for more than 30 years before retiring in 2012. After his law enforcement career, he worked for Don Sitts.

At the start of its meeting on Aug. 19, Silver Lake Village Council had a moment of silence in remembrance of Mr. Harrison. In the week following his death, the street sign posted at Silver Lake Florist stated: “Lt. Carl Harrison Rest In Peace.”

Mr. Harrison was a regular at Sitts’ Riverfront Cruise-In events on Mondays in downtown Cuyahoga Falls. Lifelong friend Bob Franchino said Mr. Harrison recently purchased a Camaro. On the Monday after Mr. Harrison’s death, one of his sons drove the Camaro to the car cruise event, “parked it in his spot and put an empty chair out,” Franchino said.

Franchino said Mr. Harrison had looked forward to giving his grandchildren rides in the Camaro.

Mr. Harrison’s wife, Kathleen, called her husband a family man, who was “very proud of his children.”

“His grandchildren were his biggest joy in life,” said Kathleen, who said their four grandchildren — Faith, Kenidee, Nora and Harrison — range in age from 13 to 2. "...He was always laughing and happy with all the things that they did. It didn’t take long to make him laugh with the little ones.”

Kathleen called her husband a hard worker, a people person, and a loyal friend, who supported family members and friends, in both good times and difficult ones.

“I think he lived his life with integrity,” said Kathleen.

Franchino and Mr. Harrison attended different elementary and junior high schools, but then became classmates at Cuyahoga Falls High School — where Mr. Harrison played baseball and basketball — and graduated together in 1975. Franchino laughed when he recalled riding around in Mr. Harrison’s Duster listening to Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” blaring from a portable eight-track player.

“We thought we were the big guys on the street,” he said.

They both went to the University of Akron and each was the best man at one another’s wedding. Franchino said Mr. Harrison regularly attended the Falls High football and basketball games. The pair attended Cleveland sporting events together and met up to watch games in each other’s homes.

“First thing we would do was open up a beer and tap them together and wish each other luck, and talk about how long we’d been friends,” said Franchino. “We recognized that that was something special we had.”

Silver Lake Police Chief James Norris said he was trained by Mr. Harrison and added he had just spoken with his friend three days before his death on Aug. 16.

“I’m still kind of in shock,” said Norris, who noted, “There’s a void with not just me, but officers on our department that Carl trained.”

At the police department, Norris said Mr. Harrison was the “easiest person to work with.” Norris said if he made a mistake, Mr. Harrison did not raise his voice and would give feedback in a way that made him a better person.

“It was more of a learning experience,” said Norris.

But their relationship transcended the workplace as Norris noted Mr. Harrison “went from being a fellow police officer and supervisor to being my friend.” Norris said when he first moved to Cuyahoga Falls, he turned to Mr. Harrison for guidance on the best places to eat and shop, and added he believed those conversations led to Mr. Harrison’s daughter becoming his children’s baby sitter.

“Carl was family,” said Norris.

Council member and retired Silver Lake police sergeant Dann Nivens said he’s known Mr. Harrison from the time he was about 12 years old and Mr. Harrison was about 18. Back then, Mr. Harrison was working at Bear’s Marathon, which was located where Doodlebug Park is today, and then at a Shell station, now the location of Jubilee Donuts — both in Cuyahoga Falls. Nivens said he and other young people helped Mr. Harrison with cleaning at the stations.

Nivens said he began working with Mr. Harrison in Silver Lake in June 1988. When he was with the Stow Police Department before joining Silver Lake, Nivens said that Mr. Harrison provided backup on a “very serious incident” on Northport Drive.

“It was here we cemented our lifelong professional careers,” recalled Nivens.

He added Mr. Harrison was responsible for getting the police department’s computers, mobile data terminals, radios and juvenile diversion program into place.

“Carl was often the person behind the scenes who fixed the problems before anyone knew there was a problem,” said Nivens.

 

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.