Bruce had wanted to be in law enforcement since childhood. He worked for an ambulance company, and the Arcade Fire Department, but he wanted to be a Deputy with Sacramento County
When 21 year old Bruce took the Deputy Sheriff test the first time, he passed all the examinations except one. He was turned down because he was too thin! In those days, there was a minimum weight requirement. While he worked on gaining weight, the Sheriff's Department changed the minimum age requirement to 23 years. Bruce was disappointed, but determined. By the time he turned 23, his weight was up, and he was ready!
Bruce loved being a deputy, and loved his law enforcement family. According to his wife, Betty, "Bruce would do anything, anytime, for his friends and co-workers. He lived by the motto 'my home is open twenty four hours to any of my friends and colleagues', and he meant it! He felt a very strong bond with his co-workers and truly felt they were his 'family'."
He also had a great sense of humor and was a fun loving young man. He was well liked by his co-workers, and was a dedicated employee of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. When he was a detective and had a take-home car, Bruce and his wife would sit outside at night and listen to calls on the Sheriff's radio! For entertainment! Betty now wonders what the neighbors thought!
During the Christmas holiday season of 1973, Bruce was assigned to a special crime suppression detail. He responded to an armed robbery in progress at a department store in the north area. Upon arriving at the scene, Corporal Verhoeven assumed a position of cover near an apartment complex where the suspect was hiding. He located the suspect, and ordered him to throw down his weapon and surrender. The suspect suddenly opened fire, killing Corporal Verhoeven. Another officer at the scene returned fire, killing the assailant.
The fire and ambulance crews dispatched to Bruce's shooting were from the Arcade Fire district, and had known Bruce personally.