Colonel Frank Milstead is leaving the Department of Public Safety, according to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey.
Sources told ABC15 over the weekend that Col. Milstead made the decision himself in order to accept another position in law enforcement.
Governor Ducey made the official announcement Monday, saying he will retire on April 3, 2020, after six years with the department and three decades with Arizona law enforcement.
"For the last 35 years, I've had the honor of working with Arizona's finest women and men in uniform, and because of that I consider myself one of the luckiest guys in public service," said Col. Milstead. "I'm grateful to Governor Ducey for the honor and privilege to serve as DPS director, and I'm thrilled that my friend and colleague, Heston Silbert, will have the opportunity to lead this fine agency."
Milstead is known for being a strong advocate for his troopers and has fought to get additional staffing and equipment for his team.
In 2018, he convinced Governor Ducey that a "Public Safety Fee" should be added to vehicle registrations to support public safety and Highway Patrol operations.
Most recently, Col. Milstead had to apologize after he was caught going well over the speed limit and stopped by a Yavapai Sheriff's Deputy in December of last year.
Officials say DPS Deputy Director Heston Silbert will take over for Milstead once he leaves office, effective on April 4, 2020.
Questions have been raised about multiple high speed chases and freeway shootouts involving DPS. Silbert has been at the center of several of these cases which are also being litigated in civil courts.
Despite these issues, Milstead has enjoyed unequivocal support from Governor Ducey.
Milstead is a "legacy" at DPS and his father also served as Director of the department.
"Frank Milstead is a trusted, proven leader - someone who for over 35 years has worn the uniform and put his life on the line to protect the safety of Arizonans," said Governor Ducey. "It's in his blood - and his service to Arizona would make his dad, former DPS Director Colonel Ralph Milstead, proud."
Governor Ducey says Milstead's replacement, Silbert, has served in Arizona law enforcement for 31 years and has 10 years experience in command-level law enforcement leadership roles. He worked with the Phoenix Police Department. He was the Assistant Chief of Police and Executive Officer at the City of Mesa before his Deputy Director position with DPS.