Abbott (AO) Harris #2733, retired Seattle Police Detective passed away on July 13, 2017. He was 72 years of age upon passing.
Abbott’s dad, Lowell, was employed by Ramco Oil. He worked in Bremerton right after WWII. That is where Abbott was born and raised until he was 5 years old. Then, his father, along with his family, was transferred to London, England. Their next posting was to Brussels, Belgium. Finally, Lowell was sent to several Middle East countries; i.e., Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. Abbott did not return to the US until he was in 9th grade, to attend St. Lawrence Seminary in Wisconsin. His mother wanted him to be a priest. The family allowed him to transfer to Seattle University before proceeding to ordination and priesthood.
Abbott discovered girls at Seattle University. He told his mother that being a Catholic priest was out. He was studying psychology and sociology, planning on now being a social worker. But, he saw an advertisement for police officer and the pay was better. So, he applied to the Seattle Police Department during his senior year. Right after graduation, he was hired in July 1967. He worked in Patrol for three months before attending the Academy. This is when Seattle’s Academy was located on the second floor of the PSB, which now is the big hole in the ground at 3rd and James.
Abbott was in Academy Class 54. His study group included Jim Geiser #2790 and Ray Lambe #2754. Abbott contributed the brains, Jim brought the food, and Ray brought his home-made cranberry wine. The study sessions lasted somewhere between 15 to 20 minutes before it turned into a full-blown wine guzzling party, and more students – also drinkers – were invited. But Jim wasn’t worried because in the alphabetical class seating arrangement, he sat right next to Abbott and just copied his test answers. He was number one academically in the class. Jim rode his coattails. Ray wasn’t worried either, he was still happy from last night’s study session. He was looking forward to the next one – after all, he made 50 gallons of wine.
Abbott worked Patrol for seven years, then he was assigned to Vice. He worked in the General Investigations Squad which included all vice activities except gambling. His experience in his Coast Guard Investigative Unit helped hone his investigative skills. Intel noticed his aptitude for investigative work, coupled with his experience living abroad, so it was decided to recruit him in 1979.
About this time, Abbott was assigned to a Seafair traffic post on race day. He had been out of Patrol about seven to eight years so he was given a nice slow post. But his old Academy mate Jay Nicholson #2770 was assigned to a busy intersection at the other end of the block. After a few hectic hours in the sunbaked intersection, Jay needed a respite. He asked Abbott to swap for a half hour. Abbott agreed and no sooner than getting out into the intersection, he on-viewed a three-car pileup. Nobody had a license or insurance, and had trouble communicating with Abbott, but they all managed to yell at each other without a problem. Jay saw this and returned to take over. Abbott told Jay, “No, I’ll finish this up. I can see why you need a break, go enjoy your break.” It took Abbott quite a while to resolve the accident and all the next day in his office to write it up. But he kept his agreement to provide Jay with a break. This was typical of his work ethic and his willingness to help his coworkers.
After four years, he transferred to the Check and Fraud Squad. There, he assisted Kevin Mason #4205 with a national fraud investigation that got wide publicity, even an episode on a national crime show. An employee of ADP, the payroll bookkeeping firm, began skimming off the various companies’ employees’ identities that contracted with ADP to process their payrolls. Then he began issuing blocks of checks to phantom employees. The loss was in the millions across the nation.
This case, and the rising Jihadist unrest in the Middle East reminded Intel that it might need Abbott again to address this rising threat. Having lived in several Middle East countries and seeing the unrest, Abbott had been warning the Department for years that this was a major threat to the City and the entire country. Abbott was reassigned to Intel in 1990.
The Intel office was on the 9th floor of the PSB. The same floor as the Department Psychologist, Dr. Mar. His secretary was Vee Baxter. She and Abbott met at the communal copy machine, and in the stairwell frequently having a cigarette. Instead of faking an appointment was the shrink, Abbott asked Vee out. They got married in April 1991.
In 1994, when Norm Stamper #5961 allowed to the Department to go to Glocks, certain units got them first – of which Intel was one. The Intel crew went to training at the range with their Glocks.
Abbott, being frugal, borrowed a duty belt with a new security holster. He was shooting a relay alongside Jim Dyment #3576. After shooting the required number of rounds at the ten-yard-line, the shooters were re-holstering. As Abbott pushed his pistol into the stiff security holster, he shot himself in the butt. Abbott yelled in pain. Jim, who was also re-holstering, thought he shot Abbott. So, Jim started, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, what can I do?”, etc. Abbott replied, “Shut up! I shot myself. You can get my coffee, I left it in the car.” Carolee Collins #4283 came over to help. Abbott asked her to help light up his cigarette. Abbott drank coffee and smoked while waiting for the aid crew to patch him up, just like in a tough guy Clint Eastwood movie. When taken home from Harborview Hospital, his wife Vee was fretting over her wounded warrior. She asked, “What can I do to make you comfortable?” Abbott told her, “Get me a double martini and a pack of cigarettes.”
Abbott remained in Intel another seven years. He served on the Anti-Terrorist Task Force, the International Child Exploitation Task Force, and worked a large case recovering ordinance stolen from Fort Lewis. He retired in 2001 with 34 years of service.
He became a stay-at-home dad to help raise their youngest daughter Venice, while Vee worked full time. He helped with homework, went to all the athletic events. He was the stats keeper for girls’ basketball and baseball teams. He was the only dad at every game, every season. After Venice graduated from high school, Abbott worked security at Jaycee Bingo at the Range.
Abbott is survived by his wife, Vee; daughters Carlin and Venice; sons Bryan and Ian; and grandchildren, Briton and Sedon.