New Orleans police chief Eddie Compass resigned unexpectedly Tuesday, four weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit the city leaving more than 800 dead and many others displaced.
"I served this department for 26 years and have taken it through some of the toughest times of its history. Every man in a leadership position must know when it's time to hand over the reins," Compass said at a news conference in New Orleans.
Compass, who led the police force in New Orleans through the hurricane disaster, said that in the next 30 to 45 days, he would "be retiring as the superintendent of police."
"I'll be going on in another direction that God has for me," he said.
Earlier in the day, the city's police department said that about 250 police officers, or nearly one seventh of its 1,700-member force, could face discipline for failing to report for duty during Katrina and its aftermath.
Each case would be investigated to determine whether the officer was truly a deserter or had legitimate reasons to be absent, a police officer said.
Also on Tuesday, Louisiana's health department said the state's death toll from Katrina stood at 885, up from 841 as of last Friday, raising the total number of deaths in the Gulf Coast region from the storm to over 1,100.