Robert (Bob) Côté was born in Montreal in 1936. When he was 16, he lied about his age so he could join the Canadian Army. He served with the Royal 22nd Regiment (better known in English Canada as the Van Doos) from 1952 to 1958. Bob served as a paratrooper and a radio communicator in Europe and various regions of Canada, including the Arctic.
Shortly after his release from the army in 1959, he joined the ranks of the Montreal Police Department as a constable, assigned to his old neighbouhood, Pointe-St-Charles, in the southwest sector of the city. In 1963, with the advent of home-grown terrorism in the form of the FLQ, Bob volunteered and was selected to be part of the newly formed Montreal Police Bomb Squad, of which he later became commanding officer, with the rank of Lieutenant.
During the sixties and seventies, Bob was Montreal’s primary resource person in many tense and dramatic incidents involving homemade bombs. He received numerous honours and decorations, including the Police Medal of Bravery. In 1972, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Promoted to the rank of Inspector in 1980, Bob commanded number 24 District, which includes Pointe-St-Charles, Griffintown as well as part of Old Montreal. He later took charge of Montreal Police Telecommunications, with a mission to implement the Montreal 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone Service, inaugurated in 1985.
Bob Côté retired from the Montreal Police Department in 1990, with the rank of Chief-Inspector.
In 1994, he made a foray into municipal politics, joining Vision Montreal, the political party of his old friend, Mayor Pierre Bourque. Bob was elected City Councillor for the district of Rosemont, and became the first City Mediator, or Ombudsman, for a four-ear term. In 1998, he served as Deputy Mayor of Montreal.
Bob, a widower, is now an occasional lecturer and full-time grandfather. He still lives in Montreal and is a volunteer writer for local police publications and a member of the Montreal Police Museum’s board of directors.