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Mayor's father remembered as 'cop's cop'

April 01, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

Robert Eugene Bruchey, a career police officer and the father of Hagerstown's mayor, will be remembered as a "cop's cop" by his friends and former colleagues.

Bruchey died Tuesday at the age of 68.

"He put me where I am today," said Hagerstown City Police Capt. Robert Hart, a former colleague and longtime friend.

Hart remembered his first day on the job back in 1965 when as a self-described green, country boy from Williamsport, he began working for the police department.

"I was matched up with Bruchey who was a patrol officer then," Hart said. "He broke me in."

At that time, Bruchey, who joined the force in 1956, had been on the force for about nine years, according to city records.

Hart said he remembers Bruchey as a quiet man who was knowledgeable about police work.

"Bob was also a great people person," Hart said. "He taught me that you always treated people the way you want to be treated."

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After Bruchey retired from the police department in 1981, he went to work for the Washington County Sheriff's Department. He remained there until he retired.

After leaving the force, Bruchey kept up with his old friends, both socially and through his attendance at Fraternal Order of Police conventions.

"There were usually monthly card games at different homes," Hart said with a smile.

The last card game was just a week ago.

Ralph "Benny" Ryland, another former city police officer, was one of the card players and colleagues who counted Bruchey as one of his closest friends.

"I also was assigned to Bruchey in 1959 because he was such an experienced police officer," Ryland said.

He recalled that one night he and Bruchey were starting up a set of narrow steps to apprehend a man when the man appeared at the top of the steps with a rifle in his hands.

"We had nowhere to go," Ryland said, describing the hallway as being about as wide as Bruchey's shoulders.

Fortunately, the man ran back inside and threw the gun behind an old cookstove, Ryland said.

Bruchey and Ryland went in after the man and took him into custody without further incident. But both men often talked about that frightening moment in their police careers, Ryland said.

"I'm really going to miss Bob ... he was a great guy," Ryland said.

Services are scheduled for Friday at 2 p.m. at Minnich Funeral Home on Wilson Boulevard. Burial will be in Rest Haven Cemetery.

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