SAN RAMON -- San Ramon gave its first police chief a big goodbye during the Nov. 12 City Council meeting.
The council chamber was crowded with Scott Holder's wife, mom and dad, brother and sister-in-law along with about 24 uniformed police officers and another 30 or so friends, police staff and well-wishers from the general public.
Even U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, congratulated the chief via Skype, from Washington, D.C.
Interim Chief Joe Gorton used his time to honor Holder by going through his biography, starting with Holder's birth in Tennessee and running through his various positions in law enforcement -- starting with the sheriff's office in Santa Barbara and including years of service in various California prisons -- and ended with Holder becoming San Ramon's first permanent police chief in 2006.
Jonathan Uriarte, a staffer for state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, and Gayle Larson, a staffer for Joan Buchanan, also gave the chief a plaque thanking him for his service.
Then Mayor Bill Clarkson spoke and read aloud a plaque that listed Chief Holder's accomplishments -- in addition to being the first police chief, he also served as the project manager for the new San Ramon police department.
And, Clarkson pointed out that during Holder's tenure, "Part I felony and felony property crimes have gone down by 33 percent."
Then members of the council had their turn.
"I remember you stood out above all the other candidates, and there were some really good candidates for chief of police," said Councilman Scott Perkins. "And the results are here in front of us tonight, in the quality of the entire police force and the fact that we've had a reduction in Part I crimes every single year since you've become police chief.
"I don't know how Captain Gorton will be able to keep up with that." Perkins said with a laugh.
"You've really brought together the community and the police department and made a great selection of police officers," said Councilman Jim Livingstone. "One of the things that most don't appreciate is what each of your officers carry around every day on their job," Clarkson said. "They're (some) of the few people allowed to carry guns in our city ... You're responsible for the actions of each one of them, and I know that's a burden you carried home with you every night."
When it was time for Holder to speak. he fought to hold back tears.
He thanked his parents and pointed to his father as the reason he "learned right from wrong and how to be a leader."
" I want to thank all my department members for coming here tonight. I was not expecting it. I don't like this kind of stuff," he said as the room broke into laughter. "I wish I could've Skyped.
"Last but not least, I want to thank my wife, for putting up with this job and understanding that when the phone rings at 3 in the morning, it's really ringing and you really gotta get out of bed and do something. And understanding when I had to sit through these council meetings every Tuesday ... I'm not going to miss this," he said, as the crowd laughed.
The tribute ended with a minute-long standing ovation.