Waterloo Region's top cop has announced he will be stepping down.

Police Chief Matt Torigian will retire effective June 8, ending a 29 year career in policing. 

Torigian is leaving the force in order to take on the role of Deputy Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services with the Ontario government. 

"I can guarantee you it was a difficult decision," Torigian told CBC News. "I think we have just an incredible police service and it mirrors with an incredible community."

Torigian added he was not looking to leave, but was approached by the government.

"At the end, weighing it all, pros and cons, it was the right thing to do," said Torigian. "It allows me to continue working in the field of community safety and continue to further a lot of what we believe in here in Waterloo Region and have some influence and help shape what community safety looks like for Ontario."

As for advice for his successor, Torigian says one of the key challenges will be building a vision for local policing in the 21st century. 

"In order to do that well, you have to be connected to your community, you have to continue to have strong relationships," said Torigian. "It can't be an office job. You're spending probably 75 or 80 per cent of your time outside the organization."

The Waterloo Regional Police Services Board says it will soon have a meeting to discuss who will lead the organization in the interim and the process of recruiting a new police chief.