Today is Dan Watson's last day as Chief of the South Pasadena Police Department. It's no mystery how I feel about it, or about the circumstances leading to the Chief's decision to leave. It's also no mystery why Mammoth Lakes jumped at the chance to lure him to the mountains. (His first day as Police Chief of Mammoth Lakes is next week. You can read all about it here.) The powers that be in Mammoth recognized Dan's leadership, experience and wisdom in every way the powers that be in South Pasadena did not.
But the people of South Pas know Dan's worth. We know how lucky Mammoth is to have him. It was evident at yesterday's farewell lunch as hundreds lingered in not one but two thunderous standing ovations. How fitting that the event was held at the War Memorial building, a structure built for the purpose of honoring heroes.
Chief Dan is one of South Pasadena's heroes.
My father used to tell me to make sure I always left a place better than it was when I got there. I don't think I ever really understood what he was talking about until I met the Chief. Dan is much more than just the best police chief our city has ever had. His community involvement reached way beyond official duties. There is a common joke told around town that goes something like this: if you need to find Dan Watson, just go to wherever somebody asked for volunteers.
Chief Dan, you are leaving South Pasadena a better place than it was before you got here. We're a better city because of your guidance, and we are better people because of your fine example. Thank you. I consider myself lucky to call you my friend, and I know I stand with a crowd of others who feel exactly the same way. I think I speak for the entire city when I say that no matter where your adventures take you, we hope that you will always consider South Pasadena home.
We'll leave the light on for you.