October 5, 2011 at 2:11 AM EST - Updated June 25 at 2:21 PM
WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) West Palm Beach's top cop is stepping down. West Palm Beach Police Chief Delsa Bush told WFLX she will resign, effective January 1, 2012.
Chief Bush said her decision to resign is something she has been thinking about seriously for several months. She's been with the West Palm Beach Police Department for twenty-eight years, including seven as chief. She was also the city's first female African American police officer. She said now is the right time to put in her resignation.
This is part of a major wave of change for West Palm Beach Police. Just days after Assistant Police Chief Dennis Crispo announced his resignation, the city's number one police officer, Delsa Bush, announced, she too, will be leaving.
In her letter of resignation to Mayor Jeri Muoio, she said, "I'm thankful for the trust, respect and confidence shown me by Mayor Lois Frankel in her decision to appoint me to this position as well as the support you have shown me during your tenure."
Former Mayor Frankel called Bush one of the most inspiring people she's ever met.
"I picked her because I thought she had fantastic leadership qualities," she explained. "She was a great police officer and she's inspirational."
Under Bush's watch as chief, West Palm Beach Police rolled out bike patrols, placed cameras downtown and started more community programs. As a result, Commissioner Bill Moss said they've seen significant improvements.
"She took over a police department during a time when crime was escalating and now we're at a time when crime is way down in the city. I think she's done a remarkable job in that respect in a very tough job."
Bush told WPTV she's frustrated by public comments suggesting a rocky working relationship with the mayor. Commissioner Moss said, with two strong personalities, there's bound to be friction; however, he doesn't think it was a real problem.
"I think they're professional enough to have worked it out," he said. "I don't see that in any way influencing the chief's decision or the mayor's decision to accept her resignation."
In a written statement, Mayor Jeri Muoio said, "Chief Bush has served this community for many years. Her dedication to the people of West Palm Beach and to her officers has earned the admiration and respect from those she serves. I thank her for her many years of hard work."
Bush has asked for her resignation to take effect January 1, 2012 to give the city time to find her replacement. Commissioner Moss said he'd like to see the city do an internal and external search to bring in a new chief who can step right into the job.
"I don't want anybody who has to learn the job while they're being police chief," he said. "I want somebody who steps in, has the support of the troops, that's very important, and can really motivate the troops to really take an active role in providing police protection for all of us."
West Palm Beach City Spokesperson Chase Scott said that city officials are already working on how to begin that search process. There's no word yet on what Bush's plans are for the future.
"Both Chief Bush and Mayor Muoio declined to talk today on camera."