Saturday, December 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Top sheriff’s deputy deals with death

coroner sheriff 12_19_13

Jackson Harris is the Solano County Sheriff's Department's Deputy Of The Year. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | January 04, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — Among the nearly 100 sworn deputies working in the Solano County Sheriff’s Office, the top cop for 2013 is a deputy with a quick smile, an easy laugh and a day spent dealing with dead people.

For the past four years, Jackson Harris worked as a detective in the coroner’s office. He is one of four detectives whose job  is to determine the circumstances, manner and cause of deaths in Solano County. Last year they handled 420 deaths – responding to all fatal car crashes, all non-natural deaths and all deaths of children.

The majority of deaths in Solano County – there were roughly 2,500 last year – do not entail involvement of the coroner.

“We average about one a day that is a death from non-natural circumstances,” Harris said. “Sometimes determining the cause of death can come down to the subtlest of things. The sort of things that can differentiate a suicide from an accidental death.”

For many in the Sheriff’s Office, the work in the coroner’s office is undesirable. Death is something some people do not want to be around.

“There is a stigma to it. No one wants to do it,” Harris said.

Harris, a Fairfield High School graduate, joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2006.

Growing up, Harris wanted to be a doctor. He considers the work in the coroner’s office to be a logical extension of that interest, where scrutiny of medical records and assisting with autopsies are routine parts of the job.

Harris comes from a law enforcement family. His father, Jack Harris, is a former Concord police officer who, after a serious on-the-job motorcycle accident, has made a second career as a prosecutor in the Solano County District Attorney’s Office. Harris has a sister who is a California Highway Patrol dispatcher, another sister who works for the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department and a brother who, at 38, is trying to get into law enforcement.

Harris chose the Sheriff’s Office, believing it offered more diverse opportunities than some other law enforcement agencies. In his years as a deputy, he has served as an emergency driving instructor, worked on a bicycle patrol team, served in the courts as a bailiff and worked with the media doing public relations.

The toughest part of his current duties is not dealing with death, but taking on the duty of notifying the next of kin of the death of their family member.

Bringing tragic news to strangers is typically done with a knock at a door wearing plainclothes, followed by a private talk on a porch using plain terms.

“I had someone with me in a ride-along and they were fine with the dead body, but when we did the notification they couldn’t take it,” he said.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or jsullivan@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • chrisJanuary 04, 2014 - 9:47 am

    Jackson Harris investigated the death of my brother. It was him who had to make the call and let me know they finally had found him. He informed me of the details in a professional manner and answered many questions my father had for him.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • P bernalJanuary 04, 2014 - 9:07 pm

    Jackson Harris handled a tenants death and also informing the next of kin. In this case the next of kin had just found her mother who was the deceased. Mr. Harris' compassion really impressed me. He was professional and helpful.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Creche collection grows in size, popularity

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Handmade Christmas display is man’s labor of love

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
 
Company competition a big win for charity

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Meeting a great role model at any age

By Murray Bass | From Page: B5

 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Weather for Dec. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

Hospital to pay $2.2M to settle false claims

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Napolitano named as UC public policy professor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Man shocked 20 times during jail booking sues

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Notorious California graffiti suspect arrested

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Island park in San Francisco Bay closed for weekend

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
No harm caused by flames at Northern California refinery

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Wetter than usual start to new year in California predicted

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Animal rights activists take California rodeo to court

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

California’s bullet train settles 1 of 7 lawsuits

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Tuskegee Airman Lowell Steward dies in California at 95

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Bush officials gave CIA wide latitude

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Theater shooter’s parents plead for his life

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Driver pleads not guilty in pedestrian deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
2012 movie massacre hung over ‘Interview’ decision

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Sony on shelving ‘The Interview': ‘We had no choice’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Obama says North Korea hacked Sony, vows response

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

AP Interview: Coelho says Sony hack threatens all

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
5 ways to make your email safer in case of a hack attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Celebrities react to latest Sony hack developments

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Prepackaged caramel apples linked to 4 deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Supreme Court won’t stop gay marriages in Florida

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Staples: Customer data exposed in security breach

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Lava could reach Hawaii shopping center in 8 days

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Jury rules for Indiana woman in firing over IVF

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Bergdahl investigation wraps up; top leaders get briefings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Texas eatery worker gets mink coat from customer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Sugarland, promoter settle with state fair victims

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
NY police officer suspended after videotaped punch

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Franciscan religious order in ‘grave’ financial crisis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Australian woman arrested in deaths of 8 children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Israel carries out airstrike on Hamas site in Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Pakistan executes militants and bombards tribal areas

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

.

Opinion

Yes, Virginia, the Santa wish list has gone digital

By Petula Dvorak | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
If you want to help the poor, fix the safety net

By Jim Tankersley | From Page: A8

.

Living

Community Calendar: Dec. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Dec. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Pampered pets that don duds move to the mainstream

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Children from wife’s first marriage put father’s ashes in coffin

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B11

Horoscopes: Dec. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B11

 
.

Entertainment

More than 4 million people watched 1st dog telethon

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Kim Jong Un game spoof ‘Glorious Leader!’ moving forward

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Marathon bombing survivor in ‘Yes to Dress’ finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Kid Rock to perform pre-race concert at Daytona 500

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Actor Stephen Collins denies he’s a pedophile in interview

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
.

Sports

Dodge, Vaca grad Mason lead Southern Oregon to NAIA title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raiders haven’t needed much from Janikowski

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
AP sources: Peavy agrees on $24M, 2-year deal with Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Rookie receivers making their mark in NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Former boxing champ Ernie Terrell dies at 75

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Gold medalist Phelps pleads guilty to DUI, avoids jail time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Dodgers end Yanks’ payroll streak, owe most tax

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

FIFA will not reopen 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Howe’s family reports rapid improvement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

2 Armstrong associates settle lawsuit with Landis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rays, Padres, Nats complete 11-player trade involving Myers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Vanden girls open Nike TOC with win on Arizona

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Things to know about Friday’s baseball news

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Cal men beat Eastern Washington 78-67 for seventh straight win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
CIF football bowl games headed to Sacramento

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B3

This date in sports history for Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

California unemployment rate dips to 7.2 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Chrysler gives in to gov’t, expands air bag recall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

T-Mobile paying at least $90M for unwanted services

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
EPA sets first national standard for coal waste

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Sales for holiday shopping season comes down to the wire

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Dominic C. Scolaro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Marian Kay Zutz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Judy Zamora Rogers

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
.

Home Seller 12/20/14

Real estate transactions for Dec. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2

Ask a Designer: decorating with Christmas trees

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2