NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) — The police chief in New Bedford, Massachusetts is retiring, the city announced Thursday.

Chief Joseph Cordeiro is stepping down after serving as the city's top cop five years and working in the department for a total of 35 years. His last day will be April 23.

“I profoundly appreciate the support of our community, without which our many accomplishments over my five-year term as Chief would not have been possible,”

Cordeiro, in a statement, said serving in the department has been a “great privilege” and that he was also proud to have been the first Portuguese immigrant to serve as chief.

Mayor Jon Mitchell, who appointed him in 2016, said the fishing port has become a safer city under Cordeiro's watch. Violent and property crimes declines during his tenure were among the steepest in the country, he said.

Mitchell said Deputy Chief Paul Oliveira will take over as acting chief when Cordeiro steps aside.

Cordeiro previously served as commander of the department’s downtown station. He also headed up other police units during his career, including juvenile, sexual assault, domestic violence, organized crime and narcotics, traffic and animal control.

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