PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — For four decades, Deputy Pittsburgh Police Chief Paul Donaldson has upheld his promise to protect and serve. Now, he’s retiring.

So on Friday, his last day on the job, he took some time to reflect on the highs and low of his career and the challenges facing police.

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After 39 years on the job, Deputy Chief Donaldson is hanging it up, and some old friends showed up to send him off.

“A very competent person very dedicated to his job,” said Allegheny County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt. “Always been very fair with everything he’s ever handled.”

“Nobody was better, does a great job,” said Allegheny County Sheriff William Mullen.

A job Donaldson says he’s loved from day one.

“When you hear the radio call your number, you get that anticipation stage – I hope this is good one,” said Donaldson.

It was with that kind of enthusiasm that he rose through the ranks to the second highest position in the bureau, relishing the good days of a job well-done protecting the public and taking bad guys off the street.

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“It’s a rush. It really is a euphoric kind of feeling,” Donaldson says.

To the saddest of days – April 4, 2009 – when Pittsburgh Police Officers Paul Sciullo, Stephen Mayhle and Eric Kelly were murdered in Stanton Heights. Donaldson, who was off-duty but lived nearby, rushed the scene and took command.

“They’re deaths were sudden and violent, and when the word spread, the city mourned, the Commonwealth mourned, the whole nation mourned. It was tragic day and a day we hope we never replicate,” said Donaldson.

And there was the day of betrayal when federal authorities indicted former police chief Nate Harper for theft and tax fraud.

“The public has to understand, it wasn’t a smear on the entire bureau of police. It was just a few individuals among the group who were involved in this action,” Donaldson said.

In these days, when police are the focus of protests and criticism nationwide, he asks the public to realize a police officer’s job is full of danger and split-second decisions.

“There must be accountability and control over police officers. We realize that, but unfortunately, the public is quick to forget the good we do, and they long remember the bad that we do,” Donaldson said.

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