After serving with the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) for more than 30 years and becoming its first African American chief two years ago, Douglas Barry has announced his retirement.

Barry, who first joined LAFD as a firefighter in February 1975, announced at a news conference Thursday, May 28th, that he plans to retire as fire chief effective August 30th.

He was appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2007 to replace former Chief William Bamattre. Barry took over as the fire department was facing racial discrimination allegations, including a lawsuit filed by firefighter Tennie Pierce, who alleged he was served spaghetti laced with dog food at a Westchester Fire Station and was retaliated against for reporting the incident.

In announcing his retirement, Barry called his time as chief a “rewarding experience” and said the department has made great strides in strengthening its future leaders.

“I am encouraged by the current spirit of the department and believe it is on the verge of achieving bigger and better things,” Barry said. “It is my strong belief that the progress and improvements we have achieved together will have long lasting positive impacts.”

Barry said he will work to ensure that there is a seamless transition of leadership over the next few months.