By Keith Regan, Contributing Writer
NorthboroughThe Board of Selectmen marked the retirement of Sgt. James Bruce after 29 years on the town’s police department, in a brief but emotional ceremony July 20.
Lt. William E. Lyver, Jr. standing in for a vacationing Chief Mark Leahynoted that although Bruce spent 29 years on the force, he has been working in service to the community for much longer, starting as a member of the local fire explorer post and later becoming the town’s first firefighter paramedic.
He was first hired in 1979 as a police dispatcher before joining the department as an officer in 1986.
“The 29 years is just the beginning,” Lyver said, noting that he was proud to call Bruce “a friend for 40 years and a brother on the force for almost 30.”
Selectmen Chair Jeff Amberson noted that Bruce was adamantly against having a formal retirement party, but said the town could not let him retire without noting his service.
“It all boils down to thank you,” Amberson said. “Thank you for being you.”
Amberson noted that Bruce has long worked to help transition new officers to the force and was known for his personal touch, such as when he checked on Amberson’s daughter when she was working late night hours at her first job downtown.
“You are a pillar not only of the department but the community,” said Selectman Leslie Rutan.
Several speakers noted Bruce’s dedication to family and how the support of his wife and children helped make him a better police officer.
“You are a class act and the town will miss you,” said Selectman William Pantazis.
Bruce said the time had “flown by” and that he could count on one hand the number of times he didn’t look forward to coming to work over the three decades.
After Amberson read a certificate of appreciation, Bruce, with tears in his eyes, called his family up to his side to thank them for their support.