GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper is taking off his badge one last time Tuesday night, as he sets off to embark on a new journey.
Smiles, laughs...emotions filled the Avalon Theater Tuesday afternoon and it was all for the man who has taken the Grand Valley under his wing.
"I've just really not only appreciated his leadership, but also his friendship" said close friend and Director of Parks and Recreation, Rob Schorber.
Chief Camper says goodbye after eight years to long life friends and colleagues.
"Skilled, kind, compassionate, great group of people that I've ever worked with and ultimately just made it hard to leave and it's hard to still leave," he describes.
Chief Camper started off as an interim chief and six months later he was hired permanently.
"He talked about taking this interim role as police chief and he came in with an attitude that 'this is a ship i'm going to drive like i own it' and he's embraced the community and the department from day one," expressed Grand Junction Fire Chief, Ken Watkins.
And Tuesday, close friends expressed some of their fondest memories working with Chief Camper and their growing friendship.
"In my remarks I made a comment about sometimes police and fire departments don't get along and we've never seen that here. I'm very honored to have worked with police chiefs here."
The Chief will transition to a new position in Denver as the head of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
"It's such an honor and a pinnacle of his career, if you want to say he's top cop in the state you can kind of look like that. I just wish him all the luck."
But he has one hope as he leaves his team for another journey.
"I'm extremely proud of and I hope they are too and I just hope they do everything they can to maintain that culture of excellence."
Chief Camper will begin his new position on December 1st.
And in the meantime the city will have an interim chief while a search for a permanent replacement begins.