MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- After 27 years on the job, Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong is leaving the job.
His leaving is not a complete surprise as he entered into the city's Deferred Retirement Plan two years ago and had to leave by 2017.
He chose to go now because of an opportunity to head up security for St. Jude Hospital.
"My legacy will be told by the people standing behind you. It will be told by the 2,000 officers that have come to work and put their lives on the line," said Director Armstrong during a news conference on Thursday. "One regret that I have is that the person who started this journey with me is not here to see how this journey ends for me, and that's my mom."
Armstrong started his career as a patrolmen and worked his way up through the ranks.
As a homicide officer his police skills played out during the taping of the taping of "The First 48" cable show.
Those skills eventually lead to his appointment as Police Director.
"These officers who have supported me and given me your unwavering support, it has been an absolute honor to lead you," Armstrong told his officers.
He led the department during some tough years.
He battled a growing crime problem with a declining force.
Many officers left the job after the city cut pay and benefits, and he worked to heal a force that has had its share of loss.
"I've lost 4 officers in the line of duty since I've been Police Director. The last Director didn't lose one in 7 years."
"Under tremendous challenges he has kept this department together and he has the admiration and respect of all of the officers on this department," Major Charles Newell.
"He always had our backs and we had his and we're just going to miss him," Lt. Colonel Greg Sanders added.