After more than 40 years with Sherman Police, retiring Assistant Chief Bob Fair was celebrated for his decades of civil service Thursday.


Local law enforcement, elected officials and family filled Sherman city hall Thursday afternoon for a retirement party honoring Fair ahead his final day on the job.


“I think I was destined to remain at the Sherman Police Department,” Fair said.


Upon graduating from the Texoma Regional Police Academy, Fair began his career as a patrolman with Sherman PD in September 1979, just days after his 21st birthday. Over the years, he rose to the ranks of sergeant and lieutenant and worked in every division, including criminal investigations, internal affairs, patrol and administration. Fair also served as one of the first officers on Sherman PD’s Strategic Response Team and the department’s Critical Accident Investigation Team(CAIT). He was named assistant chief in 2014.


“It’s one of the jobs that you’ve always wanted to do, ever since you were a little kid,” Fair said.


Since his first day on duty, Fair said policing has undergone major changes through advancements in technology, public visibility and criminal justice reform. But the longtime officer said the work also changed him.


Among the most difficult cases, Fair said two mass casualty crashes that occurred on U.S. Highway 75 in 2004 and 2008 and claimed the lives of almost two dozen people, will always stick with him. But in the face of those tragedies, Fair shined. He and the CAIT team were twice commended by the National Transportation Safety Board for their thorough investigation and reporting on the crashes. Fair said those on-duty experiences, however dark, taught him much about the selflessness of first responders and the community.


“”There are some awesome people in this world who will bend over backward to be there to help,” Fair said. “You see those gifts that people share with each other and you know that this is still a good place to be. That restores your faith.”


Fair thanked a number of close colleagues and credited his long career to the support of his family, adding that he looks forward to spending more time with them and traveling in his retirement.


A replacement for Fair has not yet been named, but the outgoing assistant chief said he wished whoever is next in line well.


“We’ve always thought that Sherman PD is the best in North Texas, and I hope that I’ve done my part to leave it that way,” Fair said. “I’m very proud to have worked there and I’m very proud of everything I’ve done my whole career. I think I can walk away with my head held pretty high.”


Drew Smith is the crime and emergency reporter for the Herald Democrat. Contact him at asmith@heralddemocrat.com.