Portland’s former longtime police chief, Michael Chitwood, is retiring from law enforcement.

Former Portland Police Chief Michael Chitwood speaks at a July 2004 rally in Portland, holding a MAC-10 assault-style weapon that was confiscated during a raid by his department. Associated Press

Chitwood, 75, was the top cop in Portland for 17 years until 2005, when he resigned to take a position as superintendent of police in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, a community of 82,000 bordering West Philadelphia.

He was known for his media-friendly style and brash approach to policing. Now, Chitwood says, he’s hanging up the badge for good, ABC-6 in Philadelphia reported.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being forced out,” the straight-talking Chitwood said in a televised interview in which he also choked up with emotion. “It’s time to go. But it’s going to be difficult.”

Chitwood started his career 55 years ago as a Philadelphia police officer and homicide detective and played a visible national role following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when the FBI traced the path of two of the hijackers, Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari, to South Portland and the Portland International Jetport.

“I have had a seat to the greatest show on earth,” he said. “I’ve seen it all. I’ve met some wonderful people.”

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