|Full Name||Harold Francis Callahan|
|Place of Birth||San Francisco, California|
|Relatives||Clinton Callahan (father), Margaret Callahan (mother), Jeanne Callahan (sister)|
|Affiliation||San Francisco Police Department|
Harry Callahan is a San Francisco police inspector who pursues the city's most dangerous and elusive criminal offenders, yet may be be as ruthless as the criminals he hunts.
Harold Francis Callahan was born and raised in San Francisco, California, the first-born son of Clinton and Margaret Callahan. He grew up in the Mission District of San Francisco with his parents and his sister Jeanne. After Harry graduated from high school, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, he went on to the School of Infantry at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. There, Harry attended the Marine Rifleman Course. Afterwards, he was assigned to a rifle platoon in 3rd Battalion 1st Marines. Harry eventually rose to the position of automatic rifleman and then fire team leader.
He left the Marine Corps after four years of service and applied to join the San Francisco Police Department. After completing the entire application process, Harry went on to the SFPD Regional Training Center Basic Academy. Upon graduating from the Police Academy, he was assigned as a patrol officer to the Northern Police Station.
Just three years into his career as a police officer, Harry was promoted to inspector and assigned to the Burglary Section, where he investigated cases involving unauthorized entry into buildings with intent to commit a grand or petty theft. A year later, he transferred to the Robbery Section. There, Harry investigated all cases in which property had been taken from adults or from their immediate presence with the use of force or fear. After a year with the Robbery Section, he joined the Homicide Section. In his capacity as a homicide inspector, Harry was responsible for investigating homicides, police-involved shooting cases, deaths of persons in custody, and questionable death cases.
After four years in the Homicide Section, he was transferred to the newly-established Intelligence Operations Section. As a tactical surveillance unit, the primary objective of Intelligence Operations Section is to determine if suspects under surveillance are connected to the crimes under investigation, and, if probable cause exists to arrest, to locate and arrest the suspects. This responsibility is accomplished by conducting exhaustive investigations involving relentless hours of field surveillance. Most often, Intelligence Operations Section inspectors assist with investigations involving homicides, serial robberies, extortions, kidnaps, burglaries, sexual assaults and crimes committed against police officers on a citywide basis.
Harry and the other inspectors of the Intelligence Operations Section are specialists in surveillance and intelligence gathering. They methodically build their cases to maximize the chances of successful prosecution. When their cases are built and the time is right, they apprehend a criminal — often during the act of committing a crime. These "hot take downs" are extremely dangerous and frequently result in armed resistance. Exchanging gunfire with desperate, heavily armed suspects including bank robbers, serial killers, and drug dealers is the norm for Harry.
As an inspector in the Intelligence Operations Section, his primary concern is protecting and avenging the victims of violent crime. Though proficient at apprehending criminals, Harry's methods are often unconventional; while some claim that he is prepared to ignore the law and professional and ethical boundaries, regarding them as needless red tape hampering justice, his methods are usually within the law – he takes advantage of situations that justify his use of deadly force, sometimes almost creating those situations.
While his partners and many other officers respect and admire him, others see him as unfit to serve on the police force. Harry often clashes with superiors who dislike his methods, and judges and prosecutors are wary of handling his cases because of frequent violations of the Fourth Amendment and other irregularities. He has a reputation as someone who does not hesitate to cross professional and ethical boundaries in pursuit of his own vision of justice, especially when the law is poorly served by an inept bureaucracy.
Usually assigned every dirty job that comes along, Harry has been given the nickname "Dirty Harry" by his fellow officers.
- A version of this character appears in the Dirty Harry film series.