Retired SMCU CEO Bob Harvey Arrests Suspect in Robbery of His Former Credit Union

Assets, products, net worth ratios and robberies. Those were challenges Bob Harvey managed for decades in his successful career in the financial services industry—especially during the 19 years he spent at the helm of Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union (SMCU). Harvey retired as SMCU’s CEO in July with a promise to ride off into the sunset. But after hanging up the suits and ties, he kept the police uniform he’s worn for the Seattle Police Department’s Reserve Unit since 1994.

He was “on the job” with the night gang unit on March 9,, 2012, when a call came in. Detectives were closing in on possible suspects in a Key Bank robbery that had occurred earlier that day. Could Harvey’s unit come to Auburn for the stakeout?

“Intelligence was developed that these ladies would be on a bus,” Harvey said, summarizing the detailed process of detective work and network of tips that helped officers identify the culprits. “We had determined they lived in Auburn. We had an idea what bus route they would take. It was pretty exciting racing down there.” But he had no idea yet as to the coincidence that was about to unfold.

“It wasn’t until we got to Auburn itself and I looked at the operations order,” Harvey said, that he made an amazing connection.

One of the two women the officers were watching was also a suspect in the Feb. 28 robbery of a credit union located in the 800 block of 3rd Avenue in Seattle.

Wait a minute, Harvey thought, noticing the familiar address. That’s a Seattle Metropolitan branch!

Then the waiting began. Soon, two women matching the suspects’ descriptions got off the bus at an Auburn bus stop.

The arrests ended the way hundreds of others have in Harvey’s reserve career—without incident.

“They were cooperative but were very surprised we found them,” Harvey said. “They rode back in my patrol car.”

Harvey never told the women he had once run the credit union one of them would be charged with robbing.

“When I’m in that uniform, I’m Officer Harvey,” he said. “Once an arrest is made and you know everyone is safe, you let the detectives take over to finish their work.”

Harvey noted that executives, business owners and other successful people do well in police reserve programs. They have the focus and passion for it. He hopes other credit union professionals will consider such programs as a way of giving back to their communities as well.

His reserve program requires full Academy training—between six and eight months’ worth—followed by frequent weekend training sessions. The reserve officers are not paid—at least not with the kind of currency Harvey used to manage day in day out.

It’s obvious the service to people is what compensates Harvey and his fellow reserve officers, who include business owners, government employees and even a senior executive officer of an airline.

“It’s a good feeling to catch the bad guys,” he reflected. “But sometimes it’s not about an arrest. It’s about helping people out.” He recalled reuniting many a lost child with panicked parents after games at the old Kingdome and said he wishes the public understood the way a police department’s heartbeat changes when a child is reported missing.

“It is amazing,” Harvey said. “Everything else shuts down. No one goes home for the day. No one eats dinner. Everyone stays focused until the child is found.”

The bonding and passion for police work is strong for Harvey, and he doesn’t plan to turn in his badge just yet.

“You know, I’ve read a lot of books about how to retire,” Harvey said. “Retirement is something we plan for financially, maybe even socially, but we’re not always mentally ready for it. Being Officer Harvey is part of my life, so I will keep doing it for now.”


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