PORT ST. LUCIE PEOPLE
When I was working
Tradition, I really
got a huge sense of
community and felt a
lot of love.
— Sylvia Harris
bance and other calls.
“One of my first domestic calls, I was about 32 or 33 years
old, I was called out to a home off of Becker Road and it
was reported the husband had hit his wife,” Harris said. “I
walked in and spoke with both parties, witnessed the wife
was obviously injured and went to speak to her husband.”
Harris said she did not have to say much, that the rather
burly, 6-foot-something man turned around and placed his
hands behind his back.
“He knew he did wrong and was compliant and I spoke
with him. I always spoke with people,” Harris said. “Some
years later, I was in the grocery store and this man approached
me. I did not recognize him at first and he said
‘I will never forget you, you treated me with respect even
though I did wrong and I will never forget how that turned
me around.’ I was so shocked that I had that effect on someone
just by being myself and it really stuck with me throughout
Some of Harris’ favorite years with PSLPD though were
during her time as a school resource officer at Bayshore and
Port St. Lucie elementary schools. SROs not only serve as a
liaison between the department and schools, but also help
maintain the safety of students and staff. They also serve to
keep positive relationships as well as educate and counsel
students to prevent juvenile delinquency.
“I was an SRO for about five or six years and I truly loved
those kids, they were my heart,” Harris said. “It was a great
feeling to have these kids call your name, run and give you a
hug. I was proud to be making an impact on them, just by us
talking and me teaching them to be their best.”
Sgt. Keith Boham worked with Harris for several years and
remains close with her.
“Sylvia is a remarkable person, always willing to help others
who were in need without an expectation of recognition,”
Boham said. “I think she really enjoyed seeing children smile.
It is clear that Sylvia had a positive impact on students while
she served as school resource officer and with the Port St.
Lucie Police Explorers.”
After her time as an SRO, Harris returned to active patrol
in the Tradition development and said she loved those years.
Starting in 2012, Harris describes Tradition as her home away
“When I was working Tradition, I really got a huge sense
of community and felt a lot of love,” Harris said. “Everyone
was very welcoming and always checking in on one another.
Those people remain friends and family even today.”
Family: Daughter, 38; granddaughter,
Lives in: Vero Beach
Education: Vero Beach High
School and some Indian River
Hobbies: Reading, baking, travel, enjoying retirement.
Who or what inspires you: “My mother. She went through a
lot and managed to do well for herself and our family even
with no education. She stayed strong and raised me and my
One thing most people don’t know about me: “I can sing
and have been singing almost my whole life, usually with the
church choir or small events.”
Officer John Fazio has become a close friend. He said Harris’
impact on the department will be hard to forget.
“Sylvia is a woman with a heart of gold. She has that motherly
instinct to make sure her friends and family are well
taken care of and in good spirits,” Fazio said. “She has an
infectious positive attitude and a look that says, ‘don’t mess
with me, boy!’ Overall, she’s a wonderful, caring person who
had an amazing career.”
In 2016, Harris entered DROP, police-speak for a deferred
retirement option plan; this is when a city employee is not
ready to leave, but is nearing retirement age.
Harris has a tattoo of herself between the two towers at Tradition.
“My health took priority and I knew I needed to take better
care of myself physically and mentally,” Harris said. “I enjoyed
my 29 years with PSLPD but I knew it was time for me
to move on, let a new generation in and enjoy my retirement.”
On Feb. 5, the city and the police department threw a huge
retirement party for Harris. She said that while she has made
many deep connections over the years, she never expected
such a huge turnout from those in the community.
“I was floored by the amount of support and love that
flooded the party,” Harris said. “We have a really incredible
community of people around here and that is something I
will forever cherish and never forget.” E
Port St. Lucie Magazine 29