Fraser retires as Pleasanton police chief after 30 years on the force

Two captains to serve as interim 'chiefs' on rotating basis

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.

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Like this comment
Posted by surely a good guy, but...
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2010 at 8:51 am

While he was most likely a very good officer and chief the fact remains that he retired at a salary of about $200,000 and will probably collect at least $5 million over the projected course of his retirement. And he contributed not one dime to that, we will fund it. How can any reasonable person think that this system can continue?

Like this comment
Posted by GX
a resident of Foothill High School
on Nov 15, 2010 at 10:37 am

GX is a registered user.

Why is he retiring at 56 from a desk job he only held for three years? Oh yeah, because he can due to the largess from Pleasanton taxpayers. I look forward to hearing about the next job he takes so he can join the ranks of double-dippers.

Get ready for our next short-term police chief so that person can also collect their multi-million dollar pension that they didn't contribute a dime to.

Wake up Pleasanton and do something about this ... unless you are happy paying more taxes for fewer services.

Like this comment
Posted by Mustang Sally
a resident of Dublin
on Nov 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Mustang Sally is a registered user.

I wonder how many times over the past 30 years Mike Fraser's family had to do without him on holidays? How many of his daughters' school events were missed because of the demands of on duty shift work? How many times he was called away from family events to attend to urgent matters of the citizens of Pleasanton?

Thank you, Chief Fraser, for your years of service! Enjoy your retirement, you have earned it.

Like this comment
Posted by javadoc
a resident of Dublin
on Nov 15, 2010 at 3:16 pm

javadoc is a registered user.


I wonder how many times private sector workers have to miss their family's events, while earning a much lesser salary?

If public sector workers really think they have to put up with a lot and deserve more compensation, they should have to justify it and earn it as they serve, through higher salaries. Another thread here started with a quoted statistic that the chief was earning $200K at retirement. It boggles my mind that someone can earn that much - even with hazard pay associated with being a police officer - and not have a very well-funded retirement ready and waiting as is.

The farthest that taxpayers should have to go in funding government workers' retirements is through something analogous to 401(k) matching.

Like this comment
Posted by Barry McKockener
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Nov 15, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Barry McKockener is a registered user.

What I see here is jealously. The Chief has earned everything he will be getting. I've been a cop for almost 9 years and my body has already began to break down. I work out and watch what eat. Im planning on retireing in 15 years when I'm 56 which will put me at 75% of my 3 highest years not including overtime. The daily rigors of the job, mentally and physically, are demanding. Most of us earn what we will get. It's not a job but a calling. I'm the one you call to rush inside and save you and your family without regard for my safety. My wife will become a widowmand my kids will become fatherless if I die at work while you go about your lives. I've been shot at, spit on, kicked, punched and a whole host of other things that cause most of you to cry so suck it up and don't complain. Unlike firefighters we stay up all night and keep you safe.

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Posted by GX
a resident of Foothill High School
on Nov 15, 2010 at 6:54 pm

GX is a registered user.

Give me a break. While I value and respect the services I receive from our public safety organizations, that doesn't mean I want to support an entitlement system that is bankrupting or severly stressing government finances at all levels. Our society can't afford things like allowing a police chief to retire at 56 with nearly full salary.

Some more facts are warranted here to provide some perspective. Do you know that both policemen and firemen don't even make the top 10 list of most dangerous jobs according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics? And do you know that according to Calpers firemen/policemen live as long or longer than the general population (look it up if you don't believe me).

So again while I respect what you do, there is no need to bankrupt our city to enable very early retirements. Now armed personnel that experience combat - they deserve the entitlements they receive - which unfortunately is much lower than what our local firemen/policemen receive.

Like this comment
Posted by Einstein
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Nov 15, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Einstein is a registered user.


Come on now let's not exagerate you circumstances. If your body is breaking down from being a Pleasanton Policeman then you should find another line of work. While I respect the work that the police do it is also a choice made by you and others which should not entitle you to an early and weathy retirement at a time when many others are hurting. I believe our combat soldiers deserve better.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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