Tampa police chief announces retirement

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Police Chief Eric Ward is retiring from the police department after nearly three decades of service.

Chief Ward made the announcement alongside Mayor Bob Buckhorn on Thursday morning.

“It’s a sad day for the city, but it’s a great day for Chief Ward,” Mayor Buckhorn said.

Chief Ward has served the department for 29 years. He took over as chief of police two years ago after former Chief Jane Castor retired.

He will now take a job in the private sector as the local head of security for Coca-Cola.

“I know that I’m leaving the department in excellent shape and in good hands,” Chief Ward said. “Now, I’m looking forward to the next chapter.”

Chief Ward also took the time to thank the mayor for the opportunity to serve the city.

Assistant Chief Brian Dugan will serve as interim police chief.

Mayor Buckhorn said he will complete national search to find the next permanent chief. He said the search could take three to four months.

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