It's off the beat and into the red chamber for Ottawa's former police chief Vern White, who was honoured Sunday days before being sworn in to the Senate.

The 31 year veteran of the RCMP and municipal forces will be a rookie senator by the end of February.

"It's a bit of sadness, no matter what you lose you still feel sad about losing it," he said Sunday night at the Barrhaven reception.

Community members who had worked with White in his nearly five years as chief said they're wishing him the best.

"You figure a person in his position, a lofty one with a lot of responsibilities . . . we didn't expect to see him in a Lions Club meeting," said George Kennedy. "So it was tremendous."

"Vern White has been a great chief of police for the City of Ottawa, not only for his drug treatment but for his root crime in our community," said deputy mayor Steve Desroches. "We're really going to miss him."

White said he was proud of that work to battle drug addiction.

"The most satisfying thing has been the drug treatment and school-based programming here in Ottawa," he said. "To see a whole city embrace something that a small number of people knew had to happen was quite spectacular."

As for his replacement, the Ottawa Police Board said they'll have one named by the end of March.

White said he has faith they'll choose a new chief with leadership, courage and ethics while offering some additional advice.

"Care about your community, care about your membership and you'll be successful," he said.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Stefanie Masotti