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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. - The head of the St. Louis County Police Department will step down next year.

In a post to his blog Friday morning, Chief Fitch said he notified the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners of his intent to retire in February 2014. The board appointed Fitch to the position on June 10, 2009.

Fitch, who has worked in law enforcement in St. Louis County for more than 30 years, is launching his own public safety consulting firm.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley issued a statement congratulating Fitch on his retirement and thanking him for his service.

"I congratulate Chief Fitch on his retirement and wish him the best in his future endeavors. In 2010, the St. Louis County Police Department became the first Department in Missouri to receive the prestigious Tri-Arc Award from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA®) for accreditations in Law Enforcement, Public Safety Communications and Public Service Training Academy. We are one of only six in the world with this distinction," Dooley said.

"Chief Fitch dedicated his life to the St. Louis County Police Department and we certainly owe him a debt of gratitude for building one of the best most honored police departments in the country."