After more than 37 years with the Wausau Police Department, Chief Jeff Hardel will retire in February.

Hardel made the announcement Tuesday at the city’s police and fire commission meeting. The commission will now launch a search for a replacement for Hardel, who has been chief since 2006.

Hardel began his career in law enforcement as a patrol officer with the city of Wausau. He worked as a School Resource Officer prior to being promoted to Lieutenant. In 2001, Hardel was promoted to Inspector of Patrol Operations and in 2003 to Deputy Chief.

During his career with the Wausau Police Department, Chief Hardel initiated the D.A.R.E. program in the Wausau School District, was active in Special Olympics and was instrumental in transitioning the department to the Community Oriented Policing Philosophy, a philosophy he uses to lead the department forward.

City leaders aim to name a new chief by the end of the year.