In 1981, Foley began his tenure as personnel officer, overseeing hiring practices for the town.
Other than the state police, Colonie is the only Capital District police force to require college credits, Foley said. He added that he could not go as far as to take credit for Colonie's recent rating as the safest municipality with 75,000 or more people, but he is glad he was able to implement hiring practices that attract intelligent and competent police officers.
"There's a lot of care that goes into it. It's a very exhaustive process," he said.
He noted the countless number of decisions he had to make, but said he "sleeps well at night" knowing he always did what he considered the right thing.
The job was not always without challenges.
"I take a lot of pride in the thousands of decisions that apply to sometimes arcane law[s]," he said. "It can be like Gaelic. Civil service, to strangers, is a language that people do not know."
Foley said he aimed to be "consistent, honest and low key," as he called upon the values handed down to him by his Irish father.
He said years of the job have helped shape his perspective, and he believes living in the present is important, and not sweating the small stuff and knowing when to leave things alone are helpful philosophies.
During his time as a public servant, Foley said there were a handful of controversial issues that came up, one being his decision to reverse a demotion of employees in 2008 for a paving project at the Rod and Gun Club the year before.
He said there were "thousands" of pages of transcripts, litigation and hearings, but ultimately, Foley said, he made what he thought was the best decision. He stands by it as he leaves for retirement, and noted "no one chose to appeal it."