The Harrisburg Police Department's highest ranking female officer is saying goodbye after nearly three decades of service.
Captain Annette Oates was honored Tuesday by officials, colleagues and family.
She's five-feet tall but could take down the harshest criminal without hesitation. She will retire Thursday to take the top security job at HACC's campus safety department.
Oates graduated from Penn State University in 1986 and landed a job with the Harrisburg police shortly after. Over the last 28 years, she has worked her way up through the ranks and was promoted to patrol division captain in 2011, replacing Pierre Ritter who was subsequently named chief of police.
Several downtown Harrisburg business like Two Brother's Pizza, Starbucks, Pita Pit, Jimmy John's, Rite-Aid, Bricco and others donated treats and supplies for a noontime luncheon.
Mayor Eric Papenfuse presented Oates with a proclamation of service in her honor.
Her family, friends and fellow officers filled the atrium of the City Government Center to witness her career conclusion.
Carter said he worked with Oates for almost her entire career. He issued his captain a retirement badge, one of the highest honors among police officers.
"It takes special people to answer that call day in and day out," he said, "and to do it for 28 years, that's really special."
Oates worked with children under Harrisburg's Police Athletic League and served as vice president. The 49-year-old is an avid animal lover and football fan. That's why she compared an officer retiring to a football player becoming a Super Bowl champion.
"Making it here today to my retirement is like my Super Bowl," she said. "And, this is my Super Bowl ring [retirement badge]. And, now I'm choking up."
An emotional Oates thanked her colleagues for the memories and thanked her mom, dad and husband for their years of support.