BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham Police Officer Lane Harper is as comfortable on his beat in Birmingham’s East Precinct as he is on stage in a national play. Harper plays the role of Civil Rights Activist Medgar Evers in the play “Justice on Trial,” which has toured the country including a stop in Birmingham.
Just recently, Harper returned from California where they are also working on a movie version of the play. Harper’s starring role is on the streets with the people he serves. He’s a top-notch crime fighter with a heart.
On the day I followed him, he gave away new sneakers he bought with his own money. One pair went to an inmate trustee at the precinct; another went to a homeless man that Harper has had to arrest in the past. He gave yet another pair to a young man who was just walking to his job.
Harper said, “Police are not warriors. We’re here to help. We have to just bridge the gap between the community and the officer.” As for his acting career, Harper said, “It’s a great experience and an opportunity to show we are more than just police. We wear several hats in our life.”
Another hat for Harper is as a self-defense consultant at Yale University, where he recently taught self-defense to tactical officers. He’s also an instructor at Birmingham’s Police Academy. It has earned him the nickname “Karate Man.”
There’s no doubt his true calling is on the street working face to face with people who need help. He’s always looking for new ways to brighten someone’s day. He said, “I love to knock on doors and drop off food when they least expect it. That’s a gratifying feeling. I love my job, I love working with people,” said Harper. “It’s just a good feeling seeing other people feeling good.”
We salute Officer Lane Harper for “Doing Good” throughout our community.
Remember, you can nominate someone you know who is “Doing Good” at this link.