BY BRUCE BRANUM
The Greenville Standard
Dianne Harris, former Butler County Sheriff and Greenville Police Department (GPD) officer, passed away on July 25, 2022.
Harris had a long career in law enforcement and was well known across the state.
She began working with the GPD in 1978 and served the department until 1995. While at the GPD, she became the Greenville’s first D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) officer and was commander of the drug force.
She became the first female sheriff of Butler County in 1995 after successively running for election in 1994 and winning. She then went on to win two more terms before retiring in 2007 at the age of 56.
By the end of her career she had served 32 years in law enforcement to the citizens of Greenville and Butler County.
She also served as a volunteer fireman and emergency medical technician.
Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said, “Dianne was one of the best I’ve ever seen at getting up a political rally. She was like a George Wallace. She could control a crowd. I appreciate her service. She left this place better than she found it and that is what it’s all about.”
Alonzo Ingram, retired Greenville Police Chief, noted that when he came to Greenville, Harris had no stripes, but he promoted her because she did a good job, was fair to people and she treated people right. He added, “That’s why she was so successful in her career in law enforcement.”
Ray Van Cor, a former law enforcement agent who worked with Harris at the GPD and also as a deputy under Harris when she became sheriff, said, “I worked with Diane Harris as a fellow officer at the Greenville Police Department and as one of her deputies. She was never ever afraid or reluctant to perform her duties and was never afraid to be the first through the door.”
Joey Peavy, District 5 Butler County Commissioner, stated on Facebook, “As many of you know sheriff Harris passed away from health issues. She was a very good sheriff and a lifelong friend of our family. She was also the first female sheriff elected in Alabama. She would come to the commission office twice a month to pick up her retirement check. She was old school, no direct deposit for her, and she shared many funny stores and events. I will miss her and our visits.”
Danny Bond, current Butler County Sheriff, said, “Dianne was instrumental in starting the Butler County Correction Facility. She tried to serve everyone.”
A funeral service was held from Dunklin Funeral Home on Saturday, July 30, which began at 10 a.m. and was attended by family, friends, and her former colleagues in law enforcement.
Brother Chris Mosely officiated and Dunklin funeral home directed arrangements.
She was taken with police escort afterwards to Magnolia Cemetery for internment on Saturday, July 30.