- Associated Press - Friday, June 20, 2014

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - The Fairbanks police chief is planning to retire from the position he has held since 2009, a job he had planned to hold for just a few years.

Laren Zegar’s retirement is effective July 1, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://is.gd/sPPLnL) reported.

Until the city selects a replacement, Deputy Chief Brad Johnson will serve as interim chief.

Zager had long planned to retire and his retirement is not a surprise, city spokeswoman Amber Courtney said Thursday. Courtney said it’s her understanding that Zager decided to stay longer to help new Mayor John Eberhart, who took office in October.

In a letter to staffers, Zager said his original vision of leading the department for two or three years extended to more than five.

Zager did not want to comment further, Courtney said.

“He does not want to do interviews because he states it’s a non-issue,” she said in an email. “He is just retiring and has been thinking about it for some time.”

In his letter, Zager praised the Fairbanks Police Department, comparing it favorably with other departments he has served, both in Alaska and on the East Coast.

“If I ever find myself or my family in a dangerous situation, nothing would comfort me more than seeing a Fairbanks Police Department uniform approaching to help,” he wrote.

Zager has lived in Fairbanks for about 25 years at different points of his life. Zager doesn’t plan to remain in Fairbanks, Courtney said.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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