After 35 years with the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, Roy Broomfield decided to retire earlier this month.
His career has been filled with nearly every duty possible for a sheriff’s deputy. In 31 years as a full-time officer, Broomfield served on patrols, investigated deaths as chief deputy coroner, responded to dangerous crimes on the county SWAT team, and even spent eight years with Lance, a Doberman, on the K9 unit.
In the last 18 years, he also served as a school resource officer at Yosemite High School, as well as Minarets High School for 3 years.
And though his experience will be missed, that doesn’t mean Broomfield will be without a uniform. During his retirement party Oct. 2 at the Forks Resort, he said he’s returning to a reserve deputy position, the same job he started in 1980.
“Ever since I first started I knew I wanted to be out doing something to help the community,” said Broomfield, 62 and an Oakhurst resident. “I always wanted to help people, and I like people a lot!”
Sheriff Jay Varney said Broomfield’s personality, as well as his work ethic, will be difficult to fill.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard Roy complain about anything in his entire life, so it’s great having a guy around who has that much experience and that kind of attitude,” Varney said. “It’s very rare to find that by the time someone’s worked that many years in any agency, let alone law enforcement ... he’s leaving things in good shape, and we’ll fill some assignments with some folks, maybe as young as he was when he got started way back when.”
Out on patrol
After almost four years on the reserves, Broomfield said he wanted to join full-time after 14 years working at a Madera winery.
Upon completing the police academy, Broomfield said he was picked up by the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, and it didn’t take long for him to get called out on a dangerous incident.
In only his second day on patrol after training with a field officer, Broomfield said he’d never forget responding to an armed robbery at a bar in between Madera and Chowchilla, where a barmaid had been shot.
“One of the barmaids had been kidnapped, shot, everything,” said Broomfield, noting the shooting was accidental and the woman was treated at a local hospital. “We found out who was responsible, caught them, collected evidence, all of this. I thought immediately wow, there’s a lot to do in this job.”
Broomfield’s life in law enforcement is filled with similar stories about new experiences, including one where, new to his position in the K9 Unit, took patrol dog Lance out on a Madera burglary.
“We went over there with the burglar alarm going off and the back door open,” Broomfield said. “There were people in there stealing beer and running off. So I went in new to the job, and told Lance to go in to look for the bad guy. He paused at the door and looked at me, as if to say ‘no.’ I thought, he’s not scared, why’s he acting this way ... little did I know there were 50-gallon trash cans behind this bar and store, and the bad guy was hiding from me in there. (Lance) wanted to say ‘the guy’s right there!’”
Serving at school
While working at Yosemite and Minarets high schools, Broomfield said his jobs varied on everything from investigating narcotics to sex crimes while writing search warrants and other duties. He also taught a criminal justice class.
Diane Adney, assistant principal at YHS, said she’ll miss working with Broomfield, who was excellent to work with on initiatives such as the Every 15 Minutes anti-drunk-driving campaign.
“I wish him well and add how dare you leave before me,” Adney laughed. “I know he’ll be around, he’ll still be doing the reserve job and lots of things in the community. He’s a great guy. I’m glad he can take this next step and enjoy it.”
Broomfield said he and Alane, his wife of 36 years, will enjoy added time for travel as well as some days to work on his yard. Broomfield also has two sons.
He said he’ll always remember his many years with the sheriff’s office, and was glad to spend every day in a job he truly enjoyed.
“A lot of people ask why I didn’t retire earlier,” Broomfield said. “I said I like my job. I’ve always told my family, my sons, that if you’re going to do something, get into something where you wake up and can’t wait to go to work to see what happens that day.
“And don’t worry,” he added. “I’ll still be around.”