This story was updated to reflect that Colorado Springs City Council created the the Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski announced his plans to retire from the police force on March 4, the agency said Wednesday.

Niski stepped into the role of chief during February 2019 and has since led the force during an era marked by national protests, the coronavirus pandemic and the local officer-involved shooting of De'Von Bailey.

“When I reflect on the past 33 years, many moments come to mind," Niski said in the release. "I picture events that will forever be imbedded in my memory to include tragedy, important events, humor and lasting relationships I have developed over the years."

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At the beginning of his time as police chief, Niski set out to strengthen partnerships with other agencies, emphasize traffic safety and promote a culture of honor in the police department.

Niski oversaw the department during through local and national debate on police reform and accountability, highlighted by the 2019 shooting of Bailey and the local response to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn. — a time during which social unrest hampered the police department's ability to recruit new officers into the force, Niski told City Council in September 2020. 

In June of that year, Colorado Springs City Council created the Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission, through which Niski has worked with leaders and advocates from around the community to address budget allocation and policing policies.  

Niski began his career at the Colorado Springs Police Department in 1989 and steadily moved up the ranks from supervisor of units, including the DUI Unit, to lieutenant and eventually chief.

Niski is expected to continue in his role as chief until March 4.

The Gazette's Hugh Johnson contributed to this report. 

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