Blue Line

Former Stettler RCMP commander Bruce Holliday passes away

February 1, 2023  By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Feb. 1, 2023, Stettler, Alta. – The former commander of the Stettler RCMP detachment S/Sgt. Bruce Holliday has passed away.

In December an interim commander appeared at several area council meetings covered by the ECA Review to introduce himself and stated S/Sgt. Holliday was not on duty and apparently was not expected back for an extended time.

Several rumours were circulating in the community Jan. 26 that Holliday had passed away and the ECA Review contacted RCMP K Division in an effort to dispel rumours.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Troy Savinkoff confirmed in a Jan. 27 email Holliday has passed away.


“The RCMP can confirm the passing of S/Sgt. Bruce Holliday,” stated Savinkoff. “Bruce was the detachment commander of Stettler detachment and previously the commander of Bashaw. Bruce had 18 years of service and his loss has greatly affected members across the province.”

Holliday was named commander of the Stettler RCMP detachment in Nov. 2021 and previously been commander of the Bashaw detachment for a number of years.

Town of Stettler Mayor Sean Nolls stated he was impressed with Holliday’s leadership and accomplishments.

“S/Sgt. Holliday was an absolute leader from the moment he entered our community,” stated Nolls in a Jan. 27 email. “He made an immeasurable difference in the time he served Stettler, and he embodied community policing at it’s finest. Bruce was our friend, and a friend to the community.”

County of Stettler Reeve Larry Clarke stated Holliday was an enthusiastic leader in the community.

“We feel a huge void as we contemplate the loss of S/Sgt. Holliday to our first responder family, and to our community,” stated Clarke in a press release to the ECA Review.

“We hold a deep admiration for the way he re-ignited community policing in our region and for how he enthusiastically embraced joint initiatives like emergency management, school resource officer presence and rural crime prevention. Our county and council will miss the friendship we forged as we worked together to make our community a better, safer place to live. Our thoughts today are in holding Bruce’s family and loved ones in our hearts while they navigate and process their very personal loss.”

In a statement posted to the Town of Bashaw website Jan. 26 Mayor Rob McDonald stated his community appreciated Holliday’s commitment.

“At a time like this the right words are difficult to find,” stated Mayor McDonald. “RCMP S/Sgt. Bruce Holliday was so much more than our local detachment commander. It was quite evident in all our interactions that he cared deeply for our community and its residents. Clearly this was so much more than a job to Bruce – it was his life. Bruce’s presence will be sorely missed and he will be impossible to replace. He was truly our friend and we owe him a debt of gratitude. Our thoughts are with Bruce’s family during this time,” added McDonald.

The Bashaw detachment area includes the Village of Alix, and Mayor Rob Fehr stated in a phone interview Jan. 27 he and his council spent quite a bit of time working with Holliday when he was their RCMP commander.

Fehr stated it was obvious Holliday was very passionate about community policing, “…and having the community be part of the solution.”

Mayor Fehr stated he was surprised and saddened to hear of Holliday’s sudden passing. “A big loss, really,” said Fehr. “A wealth of experience and information that you don’t just replace.”

Holliday was active in more communities than just those assigned to his detachment. While he was in Bashaw Holliday helped out the Rosebrier Rural Crime Watch, located between Bashaw and Wetaskiwin, noted a retired member of the group’s board.

Tully Johnson stated in a phone interview Jan. 27 that Holliday often spoke to rural crime watch groups, including Rosebrier, offering advice on how people could prevent crime to their homes and farms.

“Probably the most wonderful RCMP officer I ever met,” said Johnson.

Johnson noted that when he mentioned the idea to make an informational video for the provincial rural crime prevention boards Holliday volunteered to help with it.

“He opened so many doors for me for to do this video,” said Johnson, who added that Holliday arranged to have a K-9 unit available along with scheduling a police helicopter as well.

Johnson stated Holliday will be missed for many reasons, including that he understood life in a rural area.

“He was really good,” said Johnson. “I have nothing but praise for the guy.”

– East Central Alberta Review

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