Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn made a surprise announcement of his retirement on January 8, after a decade in the position.

Chief Flynn said it was time to focus on his family. He will remain in his position until February 16. His retirement comes nearly two years before the end of his third term, which was scheduled to expire January 7, 2020.

“In 10 years, a lot has happened. Much has been accomplished, much has been achieved,” said Chief Flynn. “It’s a good benchmark. And it’s time, time to say thank you, time to say goodbye.”

His retirement announcement comes days before he was to have his annual evaluation and amid criticism from aldermen who wanted to change state law to be able to fire him and future chiefs.

Chief Flynn said the timing of his retirement had nothing to do with his evaluation or his combative relationship with the aldermen. He explained that he had been mulling retirement for some time, considering his 10th anniversary was January 7.

Asked about the recent tension with city aldermen, he stated: “Quite honestly, there were times over the last year or so I thought I could save them so much heartache if they only knew that all their troubles would soon be over.”

Chief Flynn expressed gratitude to Mayor Tom Barrett for his consistent support. Mayor Barrett stood beside him at the police headquarters during the announcement to the press.

“I want people today to recognize the leadership that this department has had for the past decade. Ten years is an eternity as a police chief in a major American city, as the chief indicated it simply doesn’t happen anymore. But it happened here because he’s professional, he’s innovative, and he cares about the residents of this community,” said Mayor Barrett. “I thank you chief for your 10 years of service. I thank you for your over four decades of service to people in this country. You have earned this recognition, and you have earned the right to retire.

Edward A. Flynn was appointed Chief of the Milwaukee Police Department in January of 2008. On January 8, 2016, he was sworn in for a third term. He commands an agency of 2,000 sworn officers and 700 civilians, serving a city of over 600,000 residents.

At age 69, Chief Flynn said he leaves the department with a declining crime rate, citing a drop in homicides from 142 in 2016 to 119 in 2017. Excessive force complaints against officers are down 25 percent since 2013, he said. And he said there were 2,941 robberies in 2017, which was 17 percent fewer that the 3,555 in 2007.

“Certainly Milwaukee has been at the center of many of the social changes that we’re seeing right now — the enhanced scrutiny of the police,” said the chief. “Certainly we have had some conspicuous failures over the years where individual officers or small groups failed to adhere to our core values.”