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Edmonton Police Chief Mike Boyd announced his resignation Tuesday. ((CBC))

Edmonton Police Chief Mike Boyd announced Tuesday he is resigning from the force at the end of the year.

Boyd told reporters at a Tuesday news conference that he and his wife Margo want to move back east to be closer to their ailing parents.

"My decision, while not easy, comes as a result of my renewed committment to striking a balance between my family life and my professional responsibilities," Boyd said.

Boyd has been chief of the Edmonton force since Jan. 1, 2006. He will be stepping down on Dec. 31 even though his contract doesn't expire until the end of 2011 to give the Edmonton Police Commission time to search for his replacement.

In June, Boyd was rushed to hospital after he became ill at police headquarters. He returned to work a month later. The nature of his illness was never publicly disclosed.

However, Boyd said his decision to step down was made while he was on vacation in May and wasn't prompted by his recent health problems.

"It absolutely played no part," he said. "In fact, my doctor says that I'm probably in better shape today than I've been in the last eight to ten years."

EPS better thanks to Boyd, union says

Some members of the police service were critical of Boyd during his time as chief.

But the president of the Edmonton Police Association, Tony Simioni, credited Boyd for improving morale on the force in the latter part of his tenure.

"We're far better off today than we were a year and a half ago, in all respects. I give him credit for that," he said.

Simioni also commended Boyd for his skills in communicating with the public, finding consensus and working well with the Edmonton Police Commission.

Boyd came to Edmonton after a long career with the Toronto Police Service.