Mike Burns announced his retirement Friday as Macon police chief after nearly eight years on the job.
He's been on medical leave since February. Originally, the department said his leave would last a couple of weeks.
The department has declined to describe his medical condition, but spokesman Jami Gaudet last week said doctors hadn't yet cleared Burns to return to duty.
Deputy chief Mike Carswell will be interim chief until Dec. 31. That's when the police department and the Bibb County sheriff's department will merge.
Sheriff David Davis will run the merged department.
This winter, Burns said he expected to look for a chief's job elsewhere rather than accept a deputy's job in Bibb.
According to a police news release, Burns served 38 years and five months with the department. Mayor C. Jack Ellis picked him as chief in 2005, after Chief Rodney Monroe left to take another job.
In recent years, Burns' department has faced a controversial fatal shooting by a police officer, Clayton Sutton; the high-profile murder, of Mercer law student Lauren Giddings, and several waves of youth and gang violence.
But the city's crime rate has also dropped steadily during the Burns years.
The release says Burns is the only officer to rise through the ranks to police chief in the past 30 years.