BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombia’s national police chief, Gen. Oscar Naranjo, has decided to step down because he is tired and feels it’s time for a younger generation to take on the job, President Juan Manuel Santos announced Thursday.
Santos said Naranjo agreed to stay in the post until July at the request of the president and Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon.
“I do not think it is the moment for goodbyes …,” Santos said of the chief. “You can leave the directing of the police, but you will be drafted” to keep working for the government.
Naranjo, 55, has been head of Colombia’s police since 2007, and the president said the four-star general wanted to open the way for new blood in law enforcement. Santos didn’t say who might replace the chief.
Naranjo is known for his close ties to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Under his command, Colombia’s police scored successes against the country’s drug cartels, guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries.
He became the chief under President Alvaro Uribe and was retained when Santos assumed the presidency in August 2010.
The chief praised the 167,000 men and women in the police and expressed thanks for their service.
“Everything comes and everthing goes, but it’s good that this is happening now,” Naranjo said.
In his more than 30 years with the police, he is credited with creating the force’s intelligence service and headed a search unit that helped capture of some of Colombia’s top drug traffickers and break up its cartels.