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Bruce W. Harrolle was born on August 14th of 1972 in Tucson. As a child, he wanted only one thing – to grow up and help people. He set his sights on becoming a first responder from an early age and never looked back.
“He was one of the few people that stuck with what they wanted to do as a child,” said one of Bruce’s good friends.
Bruce, known among his co-workers for his infectious smile, genuine friendliness and old-fashioned manners, began his career with the Arizona Department of Public Safety on August 21st of 1999 as a Cadet Officer and certified Paramedic. Upon graduation from the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy, he was assigned directly to the Department’s elite Air Rescue Unit.
Since joining the unit, he completed hundreds of challenging search and rescue missions throughout Arizona with various pilots (he completed over 40 search and rescue missions this year alone). He has also completed, with bravery and skill, several critical law enforcement missions with the Air Rescue Unit (he served with the Department’s Northern, Central, and Southern Air Rescue Units during his career which allowed him to help people in virtually every area of Arizona).
The efforts of Harrolle, whose co-workers said he was always eager to help others with any task, didn’t go unrecognized.
He was a recipient of the Department’s prestigious Distinguished Service Award for his role in the Lewis Prison hostage situation in 2004. He was also the recipient of numerous letters of commendation for his role in various dynamic rescues and lifesaving operations.
Whether he was helping rescue or assist those in great peril (such as the times he responded to the V-22 Osprey crash in Marana, the Aspen Fire on Mt. Lemmon, or the Lewis Prison Stand Off) or helping in critical police missions (such as the time he was part of the search for murder suspect Robert Fisher), Harrolle worked with a passion and zest for life.
Bruce’s co-workers at DPS said he was living his dream in his chosen career as a paramedic, DPS Officer and Air Rescue crewmember. He truly loved what he did (he also served a stint with the Scottsdale Fire Department). It was never really work to Bruce. They say “…a man who loves his job never works a day in his life” If that statement is true, then Bruce did not consider his chosen career “work” because he TRULY loved what he did.
The fallen DPS hero, who also had a passion for flying and had recently purchased an airplane, was also known for impacting people when he was off duty. As just one example of his off duty character, Harrolle had recently written a lengthy, heartwarming letter to a child in his neighborhood who returned his lost wallet to him. In the letter, Harrolle thanked the child for doing what was right and being honest when “no one was looking”. The child, touched by the official letter from the kind “police officer next door”, framed it and proudly displays it in his home to this day.
Bruce also loved knowledge and absorbed new information and insight like a sponge. He used the DPS tuition reimbursement program to complete his undergraduate degree at Grand Canyon University in Pubic Safety Administration.
Most of all, Bruce loved his family (wife Angela, daughter Addison, age 4, and son Justice, age 2). He spoke proudly and lovingly about his family to everyone he met.