If you don’t come across Sgt. Mike Harms at one of the dozens of community events he helps organize chances are you’ll see him around town riding his cruiser bike – family in tow! He has received numerous accolades for his work in the reformation of the department’s Community Services Section as well as his recent work supervising the Downtown Unit. He takes a community-oriented policing approach to all of his work and he answers a few questions about himself so you can get to know him better!
What is your favorite place in Santa Cruz?
Sgt. Harms: I love so much about Santa Cruz it’s hard to narrow it down to any one location in particular. Whatever my mood there is something to remind me why my family chose to settle here. Whether we’re overlooking the ocean from the cliffs, enjoying the many beaches, hiking or biking the trails and open spaces, the beauty of our environment is unmatched.
49ers or. Raiders? Giants or A’s?
Sgt. Harms: I was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay area so it will always be the 49ers and Giants for me. I have many wonderful childhood memories of watching both teams with my grandfather. With the Giants World Series win we’ve been fortunate to have them both win championships. Now it’s time for the Sharks to win the Stanley Cup.
What is the most memorable case you’ve worked on?
Sgt. Harms: I was the lead investigator of an armed robbery that occurred on the San Lorenzo River Levee. Two gang members from out of the county used a firearm and robbed a pregnant woman and her husband, who were walking home after working downtown. The suspects had only been in town for a few hours and were completely unknown to Santa Cruz law enforcement. I was able to track down two witnesses who provided enough information for me to identify a hotel room where the suspects may have stayed. Based on the information I developed I was able to identify two potential suspects who lived in the east bay area. The suspects were subsequently positively identified, arrested and convicted of the crime. We were also able to locate and recover the firearm they used. I still speak with the husband and wife when I see them around town, now with their two small children. It was extremely rewarding to be able to bring closure to the victims of such a horrific crime.
Tell us more about yourself? What positions have you held at SCPD?
Sgt. Harms: After I received by Bachelor’s Degree, and before I settled into my law enforcement career, I spent several months travelling the world. Upon my return I entered law enforcement. First with the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Department and in January of 1997 with the Santa Cruz Police Department. I have enjoyed several assignments throughout my career, including patrol, the Downtown Unit, Motorcycle Officer, and Detective. Following my promotion to Sergeant I have supervised the Downtown Unit and currently am in charge of our Community Services Section. I also serve as a Team Leader on our Emergency Services Unit, Motorcycle Instructor, Emergency Vehicle Driving Instructor and Taser Instructor.