YARMOUTH — Throughout his 33 years of service as a Yarmouth police officer, Bruce Flanders has seen changes in weapons and technology, the drug culture and dispatch services.
But what has remained constant, he said, is the camaraderie within the department, the value of compassion in the field and the importance of public education.
Flanders, 62, retired from the department last month. He said it was the right time, although he will miss the job he has performed for more than half of his life.
“Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing,” he said. “I’d still enjoy this career if it wasn’t for age.”
Flanders joined the reserves in 1975 after much encouragement from members of the Police Department. When a position became available on the police force in September 1975, he joined.
From 1990 to 1997 Flanders served as the Drug Abuse Resistance Education educator at the middle school and the school resource officer. He gave lectures on career day, and taught Halloween safety courses and driver’s education classes.
He said interacting with the public was an important part of his job.
“It’s easy to go out there and just do your job, but it’s another to be personal,” he said. “Anyone can give out a speeding ticket, but to educate the person on why it’s important to regulate their speed is another thing.”
He said being a police officer takes compassion and empathy.
“The job is far more reaching than giving out tickets and making arrests,” he said.
Police Chief Michael Morrill worked with Flanders for all 33 years and said he is sad to see him go.
“He is a big part of my life. We were hired a week apart in 1977,” Morrill said. “Bruce is dedicated to the department and takes on projects without being asked. He is always willing to help out.”
Morrill said Flanders was instrumental in teaching bicycle and pedestrian safety and monitoring speed within school zones. He spearheaded traffic safety projects, worked with residents on neighborhood traffic calming programs and prepared for the influx of traffic and visitors during the annual Yarmouth Clam Festival, Morrill said.
Flanders was the 2009 recipient of the town’s Walton O. Hanson Award for his work with the public, has won departmental awards and hundreds of citizen recognitions for his work with the community, Morrill said.
“Bruce has a very strong work ethic and we already feel his absence,” Morrill said. “He will be missed.”
On Wednesday, Jan. 5, from 3 to 5 p.m. the Police Department will host an open house for Flanders in the Town Hall Community Room. The public is encouraged to attend.
Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Officer Bruce Flanders has retired after 33 years with the Yarmouth Police Department. There will be a open house for Flanders on Wednesday, Jan. 5, at the Town Hall Community Center to celebrate his service to the town and his retirement.