James Harrison and Kevin Foster might just look like two more uniforms on campus to a TCU student. That is not the case. Their passion for what they do on and off-campus is evident through their long-term involvement with law enforcement and their separate accomplishments: Harrison has released four CDs and Foster is a published author of two books.
When he isn't in his TCU police uniform, James Harrison is a Christian music songwriter, singer and bass guitarist. Harrison has worked for the TCU Police Department for two years. He recently released his fourth CD, "Chapter Four," in January and it's available, along with his three other albums, on iTunes.
Harrison’s passion for music began when he was in junior high school, playing the drums and the bass guitar. In high school, he was in a rock n’ roll band with three of his classmates. The band performed for several parties and a junior high school formal. After being in the band for about eight months, he had to quit when he left for college and sold his equipment.
“I sold my equipment when I started college because I was working my way through, trying to focus on my studies and I realized I had to be done with music for a while,” Harrison said. He didn't get back into music until 25 years later.
In 2000, Harrison’s two eldest sons joined their church youth band. This gave Harrison the opportunity to pick up the bass again. At this point, Harrison had been with the Fort Worth Police department for 15 years. He spent his remaining ten years with the department working full-time and completing his first three CDs.
Immediately after his retirement from the Fort Worth Police Department, he began policing at TCU and continued with his song writing. On his off days from TCU, during the middle of the week, Harrison would normally go to the recording studio with Tanner Landry, his studio engineer. Landry helps with the process of putting the different tracks together.
“Each song tells a different story; it depends on where the listener is in their life and what they take away from the song,” Harrison said when asked to describe his music.
Harrison’s songs are all Christian-based and are focused on the many creations of God. He said that he doesn't want his lyrics to tell people what to think, but to express what he has observed throughout life and the influences of others around him. Harrison plans to continue songwriting and working on another album.
Apart from iTunes, listeners can access complete versions of all of Harrison’s songs through a media player on his website.
Not only does the TCU Police department have a songwriter, it has a published author as well. Kevin Foster has his feet in many different facets of Fort Worth's law enforcement history.
Foster has worked for the TCU Police Department for two and a half years. He has published two books which tell the stories of select crimes from Fort Worth’s history. The stories explore "the law enforcement’s true, the bad and the ugly," Foster said.
"Written in Blood: The History of Fort Worth’s Fallen Lawmen, Volumes One and Two," were published by Foster, with the help of his co-author Richard Selcer. The books contain chapter-long stories with topics varying from: law enforcers who died in the line of duty, unsolved cases, forgotten cases and other crimes that proved interesting to Foster.
Volume One covers the period of 1861-1909 and Volume Two covers the period of 1910-1928. Each of the short stories provide the reader with the needed background information of the officers, the killers, the trial process and the crime and punishment.
“We tried to make it as lively as we could. Our research led us to the Tarrant County District’s Clerk Office and we found some of the original case files, which helped bring these stories to life,” Foster said.
The research that is required to write these stories is quite extensive and time consuming. Some stories took them up to three months to pull together and find the missing information, Foster said.
Foster began his research in 2001 while he was a sergeant for the Fort Worth Police Department, and still spends a lot of his time in the library. He collects the majority of his clues and information by using NewsBank, a paid database that searches old newspapers.
“During my 29 years of working for the Fort Worth Police Department, no one told these stories or knew of them because there is a very poor institution of memory in Fort Worth,” Foster said about the crimes he uncovered.
On top of the research Foster contributes, he dedicates his time to being the chairman of the Fort Worth Police and Firefighters Memorial. He helps maintain the memorial and has added many names to the memorial because of his research. The memorial is located along the north end of Trinity Park.
"I think it gave me a wider perspective, helped me understand more about who I worked for and showed me more about what Fort Worth was really like," Foster said of how his hobby of researching has influenced his profession. "I learned of the history that never made it into the books and I think it has helped me in some ways because now, people can use the problems that the officers dealt with a hundred years ago as examples to base future decisions on."
Foster’s two books are available at the Fort Worth Library, the TCU Bookstore and on Amazon.com.