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Cottonwood Heights Journal

‘Nothing is hopeless’ - Family-first police officer reflects on time serving Holladay

Jul 25, 2018 11:29AM ● By Aspen Perry

Chief Don Hutson, Chief Jason Mazuran, Officer Lenny Bruno and Sheriff Rosie Rivera. (Danelle Bills/Salt Lake County Sheriffs Office)

By Aspen Perry  |   [email protected]

One thing was clear when I sat down with Officer Lenny Bruno in an office at Holladay’s Unified Police Department the day before his retirement party: Bruno loves serving in Holladay, and he’s going to miss his colleagues and the people in the community. 

“I’m gonna miss the people. Holladay has been like a family,” Bruno said.

When asked why he wanted to be an officer, Bruno said there was no particular reason other than being an officer was just something he always wanted to do. 

“Even when I went to work for the railroad, I had tested for Salt Lake City (Police Department) and made it all the way through to the verbal interview,” Bruno said. 

As fate would have it, before Bruno reached that part of the hiring process, a friend set him up with a better-paying job working for the railroad.

After 16 years with the railroad, Bruno returned to the career he originally wanted, in search of a more stable life for his family. 

“I got tired of being gone from my family — every time I tried to move them where I was I’d get transferred somewhere else,” Bruno said. 

Upon Bruno’s decision to put family first, he came back to Salt Lake to test for the sheriff’s office and was immediately brought on as a reserve. 

“I did well enough; I was hired out of the first round,” Bruno said.

Bruno started with Holladay before it incorporated as a city, and many on the city staff consider Bruno a friend. 

“I am honored to call him my friend,” said Stephanie Carlson, city recorder. “He is a great example of community policing.” 

During the retirement festivities the following day, colleagues new and old came to celebrate Bruno’s almost 24 years serving on UPD — all mentioned his love of the community. 

“Lenny truly does have a love for the people that he interacted with and the people he worked with,” Chief Don Hutson stated during his speech at the retirement party. 

Hutson went on to compliment Bruno’s ability to live his life on his terms, always with a smile, before offering best wishes on his next adventure. 

As speeches carried on colleagues reminisced on their time working with Bruno and his ability to connect and make a difference in the community. 

“We made a difference, and a lot was Lenny’s ability to connect with people and to go out and just be himself, and people loved him,” said Officer Doug Lambert. 

The last to speak at the jubilee was Sheriff Rosie Rivera, who offered insight not just on Bruno’s commitment to service, but also his dedication to his family — a relationship she witnessed firsthand when she and Bruno were neighbors. 

“He puts his family first, regardless of anything,” Rivera said. 

She continued, “You’ve been a great neighbor, a great father, a great husband, a great friend, but on top of that you’ve been a great police officer — and what we’re going to miss most is your smile.” 

Laughs arose when Bruno flicked sunglasses over his eyes before addressing his colleagues to thank them and let them know he was going to miss working with them too. 

“I’ve had a good time here — it has been a marvelous time,” Bruno began. “I’ve enjoyed working with every one of you. It’s because of you that my career has been good, so thank you.” 

During our interview I asked Bruno if he still had hope after over 20 years of being in a career which is more prone to seeing the negative side of society than the positive. Bruno, in his relaxed and happy demeanor, chuckled before answering my doom-and-gloom question. 

“I’ve always had hope; nothing is hopeless.”