LEXINGTON, Ky. — The police chief of Kentucky’s second largest city is retiring next month.

Lexington Chief Mark Barnard said in a letter to Mayor Jim Gray his retirement would be effective Jan. 7. Gray named Barnard as chief in 2014.

The mayor said in a news release Thursday that the police department has excelled through Barnard’s leadership.

Barnard has been with the police department for 31 years. He said it has been his “privilege to serve” with the department’s more than 700 officers and staff.

The release said Assistant Chief Ron Compton will be interim chief until a successor for Barnard is appointed.

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