Halifax police chief announces his plans to retire by March 31 of next year

Halifax Regional Police Chief Jean Michel Blais has announced his plans to retire from the force after more than five years in the post.

The police force issued a statement Wednesday saying Blais will step down by March 31, 2019.

A recruitment process has started, and Blais will be replaced after a change of command ceremony is held.

Blais was appointed chief on Oct. 11, 2012, after spending 25 years with the RCMP.

Blais said leading the police force and serving as chief have been ``two of the greatest privileges of my professional life.''

Regional Coun. Steve Craig, chairman of the board of police commissioners, thanked Blais for his service, saying his leadership has positioned the police force ``for exceptional service of our community well into the future.''