FREMONT -- Police Chief Craig Steckler, Fremont's top cop since 1992, is retiring.
Steckler, a law enforcement veteran of 45 years, is scheduled to step down Dec. 30.
Steckler, 68, said Tuesday the stability of both the police department and the city's finances allowed him to decide now to retire.
"That made it the right time to say 'I've taken this as far as I can take it,'" he said. "It seems like a good time to say, 'Thank you, it's been a great ride.'"
Steckler joined Fremont police as deputy chief in 1986, serving under then-Chief Bob Wasserman, who later became mayor. Steckler started his career in Southern California, serving with the San Clemente Police Department from 1968-1980. He later was police chief for the city of Piedmont.
Steckler said he was proud of the department's accomplishments during his watch, such as cultivating a volunteer program with more than 200 members. In addition, the Fremont Police Department has revamped its communication with the public by creating a new website and using social media websites and Nixle, an electronic notification service that allows the department to communicate important crime and emergency information quickly to residents, Steckler said.
"(Steckler) has accomplished so much in his career and epitomizes the ideal of public service," Fremont City Manager Fred Diaz said. "His entire life has been devoted to making communities safe and serving others. It has been an honor to work with him these past eight years."
Steckler, a longtime Fremont resident, said he is looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Casey, and their 10 grandchildren.
He will continue his role as the newly appointed president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
He will be replaced by Capt. Richard Lucero, who has been appointed interim chief.
Steckler's annual salary this year was $229, 346, Fremont spokeswoman Cheryl Golden said.
While serving in the interim position, Lucero's yearly salary will be $204,878, according to Golden.
After he retires, Steckler plans to work for Fremont police during a four-month transitional period, in which he will serve as a special assistant, officials said. In that role, he will earn $30 per hour while working up to 15 hours per week, and will report to the interim chief.
Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.