SAN DIEGO — San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit announced on Monday that he will be retiring from the force next year, prompting city officials to initiate a national search for his replacement.

Nisleit has been with local law enforcement for over 36 years, culminated by his appointment to the city’s top police position in March 2018 by then-Mayor Kevin Faulconer after a nationwide recruitment process.

He replaced the outgoing Chief Shelley Zimmerman, who served in the role for four-years before her retirement. His last day with the force will be in June 2024.

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve the City of San Diego,” Nisleit said in a release on Tuesday. “Over the next seven months, I’m committed to continuing the great progress we’ve made toward keeping San Diego one of the safest big cities, and look forward to transitioning the department into the hands of the top-tier candidate who is selected to serve as the next police chief.” 

To pick the next Chief, San Diego will be launching another search through a pool of both local and national applicants. The law firm Bob Murray & Associates, who helped with previous police chief selections, has been awarded the contracted to handle the process.

As part of the search, the city will be soliciting public input to help guide what characteristics and qualities the selection committee should look for in the new Chief.

An online survey will be available for residents to submit their thoughts starting in January 2024. Nine community meetings will also be held, although dates, times and locations have yet to be determined.

Candidates will then undergo a series of interviews, including one conducted by a panel of community leaders nominated by City Councilmembers and Mayor Todd Gloria.

As outlined by the city’s policy, Gloria will then appoint a preferred candidate to be confirmed by the City Council.

“I’m grateful to Chief Nisleit for his decades of dedicated service and his steady leadership of the department over the past five years,” Gloria said in a statement. ”As we launch the search for his successor, we’ll look to community stakeholders to help us select someone with great integrity and a passion for public service who’s similarly committed to ensuring San Diego remains one of America’s safest big cities.” 

The transition comes at a time when the city is contending with continued staffing challenges, as well as separate legal action from two of its captains.

One of the lawsuits, which included Nisleit as a named defendant, alleges that the department discriminated against its Hispanic employees by passing over them for promotions in favor of white colleagues with similar or less experience.

FOX 5 reached out to the Police Officers Association for comment on Nisleit’s retirement and the selection of a new chief, but the union declined.