BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — Bartlesville Police Chief Tom Holland retires, after a law enforcement career dating back to 1971.
Even on his last day, Holland was at the police station before the sun came up. When asked if the day was bittersweet, Holland jokingly said, “I mean, I’ll do another 50 years. I’ll be 120. I don’t know if that’s practical or not . . . Overall, it’s been a life experience that I wouldn’t trade – the highs and the lows.”
Holland was the chief of police in Bartlesville twice, back in the early 1990s and again starting in 2007. He said, “I’ve loved every minute of this. I haven’t liked every minute. There’s been some hard days.”
Walking through the halls of the new police station, the chief remembers the good and the bad, saying, “We’ve got the greatest community. We’ve got more community support here than you can imagine. But we go have people that don’t care for us.”
Being on the force for such a long time, Holland, 71, has seen the times change, adding, “A lot of us back in the 70s were coming out of the military. For us, law enforcement was more a paramilitary organization . . . But just because it’s changed and it’s different doesn’t mean it’s worse.”
He says, in fact, it’s better. “I certainly hope that I’m leaving the department better than I found it when I came back . . . I hope whoever my replacement is that he or she will leave the department better than they found it,” Holland said.
His message to his officers and the community: “Don’t forget you’re a public servant. Don’t forget you took an oath. Remember your oath. Once a year, go back and read that oath. For the community, thank you.”
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