An assistant Bellevue police chief will serve as the department’s interim leader during a search to succeed Chief Steve Mylett, who is leaving the post after six years.

Wendell Shirley will assume the interim role in early August, Bellevue city officials said Tuesday. Mylett announced this month he would be leaving Bellevue to become police chief in Akron, Ohio.

Shirley spent more than two decades with the Santa Monica, California, police department, and retired as captain in 2019. In March, he came out of retirement to serve as Bellevue assistant police chief. He said at the time he thought he could be of value amid a national reckoning over policing that began in 2020, sparked by the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

Shirley was raised by his grandparents in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, according to a Bellevue news release. He was with the Santa Monica Police Department for 26 years, and taught administration of justice at Los Angeles Mission College. In 2020, he was a finalist for police chief in Tacoma.

City Manager Brad Miyake will begin a nationwide search for a permanent chief in the coming weeks, the city said.