Cpl. Bruce Haley is officially retiring from the RCMP after 36 years of service.
He first came to Summerland in 1988 and recently has been serving as commander at the local detachment.
Haley was born in 1958 at Blacks Harbour, N.B. His father was a military man, so as a child he travelled throughout Canada and Europe. The family settled in Oromocto, N.B. where he attended high school.
In 1979 Haley married his wife Shirley and they moved to Fort McMurray.
In 1980 he joined the RCMP and went to Regina to train, leaving his wife and young son at home.
“Every time as a kid growing up I’d see the RCMP members and back in those days it was so impressive,” Haley said. “It’s something I really wanted to do.”
After his training he was first stationed in Nanaimo and then two years later was transferred to Fort St. John. It was there that his two younger sons were born.
In 1988, Haley transferred to Summerland and worked here until 1993 before going to Penticton for two years.
“Back then I was young and full of vinegar,” Haley explained. “I wanted to be a bit busier.”
When he was promoted to corporal in 1995, he transferred to the Chetwynd detachment.
“We went there and my wife cried, saying ‘what have you brought me to?’ We stayed there for five years and then she cried when we left!”
Haley explained that his wife was always very supportive of his career and found positions for herself in the education system, wherever they went.
Haley heard of an opening for a watch commander in Penticton. Successful in his application, he transferred back there and eight years later, returned to Summerland.
No matter where he lived, Haley always found time to volunteer. With a sports background and three sons, he coached minor hockey and baseball. He also played on teams himself.
Some memorable moments of his career include greeting the Queen’s limousine and opening the door for Prince Phillip, being part of a security detail for the 2010 Olympics and for the G20 Summit.
As a result of a traumatic incident in which four people were killed, Haley received a Commanding Officers Commendation for Bravery, a St John’s Ambulance Certificate for Life Saving and a Province of British Columbia Certificate for Outstanding Police Work.
Haley considers himself fortunate that he has been able to resolve situations without ever having to fire a shot at anyone, even though he has had firearms, knives and an axe pulled on him.
“I think if you went to work afraid, that you wouldn’t be able to do your job the way you’re trained to,” he explained. “It’s important that we resort to the training that is provided to us and reflect back on that when push comes to shove.”
Policing has changed over the years with the advent of social media and cell phones with cameras. Haley feels that often times it is only the negative behaviour of officers that is featured, while there are so many good things that go on in policing every day, that go unnoticed. While he recognizes that the few bad apples need to be weeded out, he doesn’t think that all officers should be painted with the same brush.
“There will be 99.9 percent of our members who would sacrifice anything to help the public and they do that on a daily basis,” he explained.
As far as Summerland is concerned, Haley considers it to be a very safe community and he is confident that the officers we have here are putting their best effort into keeping it that way.
Haley is planning on taking the next six months to “decompress.” He and his wife look forward to “being tourists in their own town” and “getting back into the more recreational side of life,” spending time on the lake and hiking with their two dogs.
“After 36 years, it’s one of those situations when you know when it’s time to go,” Haley explained.
Speaking of his profession, he said, “I’ve enjoyed for the most part, every moment of it. It’s been a very enjoyable, rewarding occupation.”