Almost 80 people gathered on Friday to celebrate the career of Fenton Police Chief Jason Slater, who is retiring after 27 years with the department.
Many of the city’s elected leaders, staff and well-wishers gathered at the Fenton Community and Cultural Center for a lunch celebrating Slater, who became a patrol officer in 1995 and has been the city’s top law enforcement officer since he was sworn in as chief in 2017.
The ceremony, which was kept as low-key as possible at Slater’s request, included presentations from city and police officials, all of whom made clear that they would miss the chief.
Mayor Sue Osborn said she had known Slater for a long time, as she was president of the Parent Teacher Organization when Slater “was a youngster on the school safety patrol. It’s a sad day for me to say goodbye to my favorite police chief, and we are surely going to miss him,” she said.
Osborn presented Slater with a proclamation honoring his service and a unique carbon-fiber plaque marking his service and including his badge number, 26.
City Manager Lynn Markland said he was sorry to see Slater go. “He has been a great police chief, and I appreciate the opportunity to work with him,” he said.
Fenton Fire Chief Bob Cairnduff said that what made Slater a great law enforcement leader is that “he did the right thing every single time.” “The city is extremely lucky to have had him as chief,” he said.
Fenton Police Lt. Jeffrey Cross presented Slater with a large, engraved Fenton Police badge made from a single piece of wood, and Fenton Police Sgt. Julie Bemus presented the chief with a memory box she curated with items from his tenure.
Cross remembered Slater as an exacting leader and trainer. “When I started as a patrol officer, he sent back every report I filed. He was pushing me to write better. To be a better officer,” he said. “I hate to see him leave, but we all absolutely wish him the absolute best.”
Cross then presented Slater with a $1,200 gift certificate to Carl’s Golfland. “We really hope you use it for lessons,” he quipped.
Slater closed the program with his deep thanks for department employees, city administrators and elected officials as he expressed pride in being a leader for the city in which he grew up.
“I always tried to keep our citizens’ best interests in mind when making decisions on how to police our community,” he said. “And your unwavering support was always reassuring.”
“To my team, you are an incredible group of dedicated men and women who come to work every day to make a positive difference. I am proud of you, and I am proud of how you interact with citizens and visitors alike.”
He closed by thanking his wife, Lorrie, and his son, Eric for their understanding and support.