BERKELEY -- UC Berkeley Police Chief Mitch Celaya announced Wednesday night he will be retiring at the end of this year, ending his 30 year career with the department.

Celaya's retirement will be effective Dec. 31 and a nationwide search will begin immediately for his replacement, according to an email sent to the campus. Capt. Margo Bennett will serve as acting chief until a new chief is hired.

Celaya joined the UC Berkeley Police Department in 1982 as an officer before moving up to lieutenant and then to captain, assistant chief and ultimately chief, the email said.

Celaya has been the recipient of numerous service awards, including the UC systemwide Meritorious Service Award for his response to the 1992 assassination attempt on Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien. Celaya, a Fairfield resident, has also spearheaded the police response during many of the protests held at the campus in recent years.

"He has shown deep dedication to our campus and community, and we wish him all the best as he pursues his personal interests and focuses on his family," the announcement said.

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