- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 5, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The second-longest serving police chief in Sioux Falls history announced Wednesday he will retire this fall after almost 30 years on the force.

Chief Doug Barthel, 52, joined Mayor Mike Huether at the Sioux Falls Police Department to announce he will step down in to October take a position as director of community relations and public policy for Sanford’s health care system.

Barthel said deciding to leave was “extremely difficult.”

“It’s been an incredible career,” he said. “I’ve been blessed with some fantastic opportunities.”

Barthel began with the department in 1986 and former Mayor Dave Munson appointed Barthel as chief in May 2003. At the time of his appointment, Barthel was 40 and a lieutenant who had supervised the department’s drug task force.

Barthel became chief at a time when Sioux Falls police leadership was changing. His predecessor, Clark Quiring, was demoted, freeing up the police chief position.

His last day in the department will be Oct. 16, he said, adding that he will take several weeks to relax, and hunt pheasants, before he joins Sanford in December.

The city will immediately begin searching for Barthel’s replacement, Huether said.

Barthel noted in his press conference that is his only wish was that during his tenure he could say the city had won the “war on drugs.”

“I always wanted to be able to say that,” he said, “but other than that it’s just been a great career.”

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