Deputy Chief Norm Lipinski announced Thursday he is leaving the EPS in December.

Deputy Chief Norm Lipinski is leaving the Edmonton city police after more than 30 years.

Many expected Lipinski to be a top candidate for chief when current chief Mike Boyd retires Dec. 31, 2010.

Instead he will be taking on the role of RCMP Assistant Commissioner, responsible for British Columbia’s lower mainland region.

"Leaving the EPS (Edmonton Police Service) was a very difficult decision for me," he said in a note to staff Thursday. "However, the opportunity to work with members of the RCMP in lower mainland British Columbia arose and I couldn’t pass it up. I’m thrilled to be joining this iconic Canadian organization."

"I’ll miss not only the EPS and what it stands for, but also the many colleagues and friends who truly made it a top-tier policing agency."

Lipinski will continue in his current role until mid December.

Lipinski is married to Global News anchor Lynda Steele. Steele confirmed she will be leaving her position in August so she can be with her husband in B.C.

Lipinski will speak to the media Friday morning.