DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Chief Richard Biehl has announced he is retiring after 13 years leading the Dayton Police Department.

At a news conference Tuesday, city manager Shelley Dickstein said Biehl will leave the department in July.

Following his retirement, Lieutenant Colonel Matt Carper will serve as acting police chief. He is currently deputy director and assistant chief. 

Biehl first joined the Dayton Police Department as director and chief in January 2008, according to the DPD website.

He had previously served nearly 25 years in the Cincinnati Police Department in positions including officer, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and assistant police chief.

Biehl partnered with the Trotwood Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in the Community Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence (CIRGV).

“It has been my greatest honor of my professional life to serve as the police chief for the city of Dayton and to serve the Dayton community,” Biehl said.

Biehl led the force during some of the Gem City’s most challenging times, including the 2019 Oregon District mass shooting.

“I was so awed by the number of people who responded to that vigil and the palpable gratitude through expressed in shared heart of that community that evening,” he said.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley praised Biehl’s efforts to curb gun violence, reduce drug overdoses and improve community policing.

“Chief Biehl came to lead Dayton police … at a time of low confidence about the department, both internally and externally,” Whaley said. “And what I saw is he had transformed it into a real asset to the community.”

Biehl said he originally planned to retire last year but chose to stay on the force due to the pandemic and the calls for racial justice after the death of George Floyd.

“I believe we are in a much better place as a community in regard to both of these crises, and there’s solvent leadership to continue that work moving forward,” Chief Biehl said.

That work will include addressing the more than 140 recommendations issued by Dayton police reform groups since their efforts began last summer.

Chief Biehl said he is optimistic the police and community can work together to bring change.

“There is no easy path out of the current crises,” Biehl said. “It will take diligence, hard work, faithfulness leading forward and to also pull to the community into a larger dialogue.”

Dickstein said the search for Dayton’s next chief will begin this month. The city will hire a national executive search firm along with a Selection Oversight Committee (SOC) to help oversee the hiring process.

“As we begin our search for the ideal candidate, we have put together an inclusive process to ensure transparency and representation by the residents of this community,” said Dickstein.

The city said it hopes to name the new police chief in October.