Police Chief Michael Fraser was saluted Friday night at a packed reception at the Veterans Memorial Building where City Manager Nelson Fialho praised his service over the last 30 years, including the last three years as chief of the police department.
He was Pleasanton's fifth chief of police, appointed to the position in 2007 by Fialho and succeeding Chief Tim Neal, who retired that year. Fraser's annual salary at retirement was $200,000.
At the retirement party, Fialho recalled that he first met Fraser 15 years ago.
"It didn't take too long before I came to appreciate him as a person," Fialho said. "Mike was always concerned about doing the right thing for the department and community even if that put him at odds with his bosses. Not an easy thing to do."
He said Fraser created an environment of trust and respect for all individuals, a law enforcement perspective that honored tradition and community, "tough on crime, but soft on our community, and all the while providing a stable, steady and consistent leadership."
"Mike is the kind of guy that you want protecting your family and your community," Fialho added.
Fraser came up through the ranks, joining the Pleasanton police force in 1980 when it had 29 officers. Today, there are 84 officers on the force.
During the course of his career, he had a broad array of assignments including patrol officer, field training officer, detective, sergeant and SWAT commander. He was also the fourth motorcycle officer in the Pleasanton police department's history.
Fraser introduced the E-911 service to Pleasanton in 2007. This service allows residents with cell phones to punch in 9-1-1 during an emergency and have the call go directly to the Pleasanton Police Department rather than a California Highway Patrol call center based in Vallejo. The change speeds up the local response time to an emergency by contacting Pleasanton police first during an emergency.
When he first joined the Pleasanton police force as a patrol officer in 1980, Fraser found a Pleasanton that was in the middle of a major economic boom, largely associated with the development of Hacienda Business Park.
Stoneridge Shopping Center was under construction and preparing to open in nine months with the original anchor stores of Macy's, Emporium Capwell, and JC Penney. The average family income was $30,000 and Pleasanton's population of just over 35,000 residents was experiencing rapid change.
"Pleasanton went from a small town bedroom community to a well balanced mid-sized city over the past 30-plus years that I have worked here," Fraser said.
"There is a vast difference between the 'then' and 'now' aspect of my career," he added.
"In 1980, the police department was housed in what is now the Museum On Main with a locker room, briefing room, report writing room, and lunch room," he recalled. "We kept track of all calls with paper and pencil. Everything was done manually."
Fraser has a bachelor's degree from the University of San Francisco and a Master's degree from Cal Poly University, Pomona. He graduated from Command College in 1996 and the FBI National Academy in 2001.
He has lived in Pleasanton for more than 27 years with his wife Diane. They have two daughters, Valerie and Stacie.
About the family, Fialho said: "To Diane specifically, congratulations. The two of you survived his crazy career and raised two beautiful and smart daughters. While I know he was committed to his career, I also know that first and foremost, he was a committed husband and father to you and the girls."
Fialho said recruitment for Fraser's successor will begin immediately with the final selection probably occurring in the March/April timeframe.
In the meantime, interim command will be provided by the department's two police captains, Eric Finn and Dave Spiller.