For a few moments Friday afternoon, precisely at 2:45, Woodward and Northwest Oklahoma might have been a little vulnerable.

Radio traffic was hushed.

Lights flashed blue, red and yellow in front of the Pioneer Room as officers from police departments across the state, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and state leaders gathered in honor of one man - Woodward Police Chief Harvey Rutherford.

Filled nearly to capacity, an entire community and beyond assembled to bid farewell to the seasoned officer who retired effective Jan. 30 after a more than 45-year career in law enforcement - with the last 25 spent serving Woodward's citizens.

"I have a law enforcement background and so law enforcement officials, who have served as Harvey Rutherford has, are special to me," said Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb.

After Rutherford received gifts from the City, Fraternal Order of Police, The Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police and CLEET,  Lamb announced Rutherford's pending retirement of part of his reason for being in the region.

He offered a special state citation honoring Rutherford's service to not only the state but to the City of Woodward.

Rutherford graduated in 1962 from Perry High School and married his high school sweetheart, Shirley Jean Johnson.

In 1969 he graduated from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and served the state in that capacity before retiring in 1990. Almost immediately upon retiring from the OHP, Rutherford stepped into the roll as Woodward's Police Chief.

Rutherford has three children, Kimberly Barnett and Brenda Rutherford of Woodward and Aaron Rutherford of Elk City. Rutherford also has five grandchildren; Tyler Harris, Makenzie Harris, Shelby Barnett, Cory Barnett and Courtney Barnett.

Five years ago, Rutherford remarried his current wife, Lanette.

He is a member of the Woodward Lion Club and the Woodward Chamber of Commerce.

Rutherford has also served as president of the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police and is currently serving as the organization's Northwest director. He also serves as the CLEET Advisory Council for Region 10.

He and his wife are active members of the First Assembly of God Church.

But all of the honors notwithstanding, Rutherford, a quintessential family man, seemed most moved by the support shown by his family and mother, Ruby Rutherford, wife and fellow officers.

"My mother is here and she is 92 years old and this is where it all began," he said, pointing to the petite, stylishly dressed matriarch.

Those who know Chief Harvey Rutherford, know the more he feels, the quieter he gets and Friday was no exception.

While holding his wife's hand and in a voice sometimes laced with emotion, he thanked law enforcement officers who served with him through the years for his success. He also mentioned his family, many who had driven miles to see this moment.

Former Woodward Assistant Chief Tony Alexander stood in honor of his fellow officer and leader and said a few words.

"I have known Harvey since I came to Woodward Police Department and there is no more honorable man that you could ever know," Alexander said.

The Chief's secretary Carol Gastineau, has worked for him for 3 years. Friday, the typically stoic administrative director was uncharacteristically emotional.

"He was my neighbor across the street before I came to work here and I loved him as a person and I loved him as a boss," Gastineau said. "He was just a great person to work for."

Another fan, OHP Troop I Commander, Stan Walker also praised Rutherford for his character.

"Well, Harvey didn't say and lot. But when he spoke, you sure wanted to listen," Walker said. "When he was with the patrol (OHP), he was always going and doing and then he brought that work ethic here and basically set the standard."

Rutherford's current Assistant Chief, Chuck Wheeler, also a man not known for a lot of words, made his own statement after the event.

"This," he said, waving his arm over the room to emphasize the number of people who came to the event. "This tells the whole story and speaks volumes about Harvey Rutherford."

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