LITTLE ROCK (AP) — The director of the Arkansas State Police is retiring.

Gov. Mike Beebe and state police officials held a press conference Monday to announce Col. JR Howard’s retirement. Longtime trooper Stan Witt will take his place.

Beebe’s office says Witt began his law enforcement career with the Walnut Ridge Police Department in 1975. He spent the next decade in various departments in northeast Arkansas before he joined the Arkansas State Police in 1985 and began patrolling highways in Sharp County.

The governor’s office says Howard informed him of his intention to retire at the end of the month.

The official transition of leadership is expected to happen on Friday.

The state police website says that Howard was commissioned as an Arkansas state trooper in 1971.