Atherton Police Chief Ed Flint will retire effective Oct. 14, the town announced Sept. 30. Chief Flint had been on leave with a medical condition for months and Commander Joe Wade has been acting chief since early April.
Chief Flint was hired by Atherton as an interim chief in July 2011, but the town convinced him to stay and interim was removed from his title in May 2012.
He has worked in law enforcement for more than 40 years, including serving as police chief in Santa Rosa and Elk Grove. He also worked during his career with the California Highway Patrol in Redwood City and the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, and was assistant police chief in Citrus Heights.
He is a retired Army colonel, and served in the Army Reserves and California National Guard.
Mayor Elizabeth Lewis said she is "sad to lose Ed as our chief of police."
She said Chief Flint "joined us at a critical time and set a very high bar of excellence, integrity and performance in our police department. He has recruited the 'best of the best' to serve and protect our residents and the 10 schools and 7,000 students in our town."
In a statement, the town says he "played a major role in improving the police department through staffing changes and new hires, and execution of new policies and procedures."
Among changes he brought to the department were strengthening the traffic unit; bringing back a schools' resource officer; increasing the number of authorized sworn personnel; adding a fifth dispatcher to the rotation; securing a full-time code enforcement officer; and working with the Civic Center Advisory Committee to help design new police department facilities.
He also implemented recognition awards for employees based on years of service and adopted a new department motto: "To Serve With Honor, Integrity and Professionalism," which was etched on all police vehicles.
"Flint's exceptional leadership and dedication to the town has been greatly appreciated by the community, town council, city manager and town staff," the town's statement says. "His professionalism and integrity have been invaluable and will leave a lasting impression on the department."
Atherton's City Manager George Rodericks also had praise for Chief Flint. "I've had the opportunity to work directly with six police chiefs over the course of my 16 years as a city manager," he said. "Some were contract, some were employees – all were exemplary. Chief Flint is no exception. His dedication to the organization, to the community, and to his role as one of its leaders was inspiring."
Mr. Rodericks said Joe Wade will remain as acting chief while the town looks for a new police chief. He said the process will take at least two to three months and will probably use a recruitment firm.