Ottawa police chief says goodbye

Vern White ends his 31-year reign as a police officer Monday as he prepares for his swearing in as a Canadian senator Feb. 28.

Vern White ends 31-year tenure as a police officer to become senator

Ottawa looking for a new chief after Vern White takes Senate appointment. 1:33

Vern White officially relinquishes his duties as Ottawa's police chief Monday, meaning he will not be a police officer for the first time in 31 years.

White handed his badge in Friday but his official last day of work was Family Day as he gets ready to be sworn in as a senator Feb. 28.

He said the feeling is very strange as he was celebrated in a ceremony called "Hail to the Chief".

"Coming from where I came from, Cape Breton Island, I pinch myself every day, so I feel lucky to be able to do what I've done," White told the CBC's Alistair Steele.

Tragedy, adversity struck during White's tenure

White faced some challenges and obstacles during his tenure as the city's top police officer. The most newsworthy event came from multiple allegations of police brutality in the cellblock in the winter of 2010 and 2011.

The police force also faced tragedy during the fatal stabbing death of Const. Eric Czapnik in December 2009.

City councillors applaud White for how he handled adversity. One councillor believes White's leadership skills showed why he was the chief.

"He's got a real lasting legacy for our city and I think that will continue in his role as a senator," said Gloucester-South Nepean Coun. Steve Desroches, who is also a deputy mayor.

New police chief announced in March

Ottawa's mayor and the rest of the police services board will have to find White's replacement. The announcement comes in March but the force's two deputy police chiefs, Charles Bordeleau and Gilles Larochelle, will be in charge until then.

Jim Watson, also a public critic of this country's senate, said the city would have a tough time finding a new police chief.

"We're going to miss him. We wish he'd stayed as chief, but obviously when you get a call from the prime minister, it's hard to say no to that, too," said Watson.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the new Senate appointmentsincluding White, on Jan. 6.