DARTMOUTH - After serving Dartmouth for 34 years, Police Chief Robert Szala has officially penned his retirement letter to town officials.

The retirement is the result of a heart attack Szala suffered from back in April. He's been unable to work and recovering at his home since being cleared from the hospital.

The announcement was made during a Select Board meeting by Town Administrator David Cressman, who had confirmed the delivery of Szala's letter to the Retirement Bureau. The Board says that Szala's retirement will become official once reviewed and acted on by the Bureau.

“I've known Bob for over 40 years. Bob is a great guy and I'm glad he's going out healthy,” Town Selectman Shawn MacDonald said of Szala. “Bob provided some stability at a time when we needed stability in the department. He shepherded the approval of a new police station and I think that is very important.”

The Chief's retirement announcement sparked similar reaction from all other members of the Board, who shared their respect for Szala and thanked him for his service over the past three decades.

“I'm disappointed that he's retiring and won't be with us. I've enjoyed working with him and enjoyed knowing him,” David Cressman said. “I think he's brought leadership to the department when it was in a difficult timeframe, and I think he helped us set the direction as to what the permanent facility should be for the Dartmouth Police Department, and I think that will be his legacy.”

The Board also mentioned the task of finding a new Police Chief to replace Szala. Though not officially stated, the Board alluded to appointing Deputy Chief Brian Levesque to fill the position. Levesque was appointed as acting police chief by the Select Board in May at a salary of $144,900.