Col. Jeff Strickland, chief deputy with the Hall County Sheriff's Office, is retiring Friday after 28 years with the department.
The decision comes as he continues to run for Hall County sheriff, a campaign he announced in April.
Strickland previously told The Times he planned to keep his position until next spring, when he formally qualified as a candidate.
But he said Tuesday he wanted to spend time with family before focusing on the campaign.
"I began to look at the idea of having the holidays off with my family and then to be able to do some traveling and then be able to devote my attention to the campaign in 2012," he said.
Before Strickland announced his campaign, a policy barred county or sheriff's office employees from running or holding elected office. That policy was changed on March 31 to include "unless authorized by the sheriff," allowing Strickland to continue his role with the sheriff's office.
After beginning his career as a jailor in 1983, Strickland eventually rose to command the Police Services Division. He has served as chief deputy since 2008 under Sheriff Steve Cronic.
A decision regarding Strickland's replacement as chief deputy hasn't been made official, but Hall County Board of Commissioners Chairman Tom Oliver said it's possible the board will vote on a contract at its Thursday night meeting. Cronic will name the replacement.
According to Hall County Human Resources policy, the board must vote to approve any replacement's contract before the decision can be made official.
A decision regarding a replacement to take Strickland's duties as police services commander also has not been made official.
Also retiring from the sheriff's office is Maj. Ramone Gilbert, who most recently served as commander of Sheriff Services, overseeing jail, courthouse and civil service operations.
Gilbert retired Thursday after spending 24 years with the sheriff's office, starting as a jailor and holding several other positions until retiring as commander. He recently announced his intention to run for Jackson County sheriff.