Photo by ASHLI BARRETT/Advocate Staff                                Lacombe Police Chief Steve Murray, retired on Tuesday. He was placed on administrative leave last month.

Photo by ASHLI BARRETT/Advocate Staff Lacombe Police Chief Steve Murray, retired on Tuesday. He was placed on administrative leave last month.

Lacombe police chief unexpectedly retires

Move comes after he was recently put on administrative leave

Lacombe Police Service Chief Steve Murray has resigned unexpectedly for “personal health issues.”

The Lacombe Police Commission announced late Tuesday afternoon that Murray was retiring effective Friday.

Murray had been put on administrative leave by the commission late last month. The reasons were not disclosed by commission chairman Jonathan Jacobson when reached on Monday.

In a statement Tuesday, Murray says, “I am extremely proud of the accomplishments LPS (Lacombe Police Service) has achieved over the past four years with the tremendous support of both the Lacombe Police Commission and city council, and some significant organizational change projects will come to fruition in the near future.

“With those changes in place, and with an experienced and energetic team at LPS, it is time for me to depart and focus on addressing personal health issues.

“I feel both honoured and privileged to have had the opportunity to work alongside so many great people and to serve this wonderful community.”

Murray has been with Lacombe’s police since 1999, rising through the ranks from constable to the top job.

“I think he’s done a tremendous job coming up through the ranks,” said Mayor Steve Christie, when reached by phone.

“I just want to wish him all the best in the future and hopefully he can take care of the health issues and go on from there.”

Christie said he had no information on the health issues involved.

He also did not know what severance or other benefits for which the chief may be entitled.

Jacobson thanked Murray in a statement.

“On behalf of the commission, we thank Chief Murray for his service to the community and look forward to working with LPS moving the service forward in meeting the goals and objectives of the commission and serving the community overall,” he says.

Insp. Lorne Blumhagen has been appointed acting chief of police in the interim while the commission considers a strategy to recruit for a new chief.