Newton Police Chief John O'Brien announced Friday that he will retire.
O'Brien, 59, was sworn in as police chief in January 2005, but spent a total of 36 years as a police officer in town.
As chief, he inherited the high-pressure responsibility of managing policing for a community dubbed the safest city in America.
Jeremy Solomon, a spokesman for Mayor David Cohen, said O'Brien continued a level of excellence throughout his tenure as chief, including a second safest city award for the city. Newton has formed a search committee to find O'Brien's replacement.
O'Brien's last day as chief has not yet been announced.
According to this 2005 Globe profile, O'Brien comes from a ''police family." His father was a longtime member of the Boston Police Department who died of a heart attack at 63 while driving home from work.
He's an avid reader of novels; right now sitting on his couch is Nelson DeMille's ''Night Fall," about an NYPD homicide detective. He and his wife, Stacey, live in Upper Falls, and they also own a home in Naples, Fla., where they stay a half-dozen times a year.
''We love the warm weather, the palm trees, and the sand," O'Brien said in 2005. ''You have to have a little piece of paradise, and that's mine."