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The Chief of the Minnesota State Patrol is leaving the agency to take a position with the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Matt Langer, who has led Minnesota's largest law enforcement agency for the past decade, made the announcement Wednesday. He said his last day on the job will be April 2.

"Beginning my career with the State Patrol was an easy decision. Deciding to leave has been the opposite," Langer said in a statement. "I am truly proud of the work our employees do every day and am honored to have been able to lead them for the past 10 years."

Lt. Colonel Christina Bogojevic will serve as interim chief until a new leader is named.

Langer joined the patrol in 1999 and rose up the ranks to the agency's top job. During his tenure as chief, he was a staunch advocate for legislation that prohibited drivers from holding cell phones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel. It finally became law in 2019.

Improving traffic safety was also a cause for Langer, who initiated education and enforcement efforts by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) meant to prevent serious injury and fatal crashes as the result of bad driving behaviors, those who knew him said.

Minnesota now has some of the safest roads in the nation, according to DPS.

Langer brought body cameras to the patrol, re-established a chaplaincy program and recently signed a pledge intended to ensure that 30% of troopers and support staff are women.

Langer managed the agency through difficult challenges in the past decade, including a rise in aggressive driving and highway deaths in years during and following the COVID-19 pandemic and the fatal shooting of Ricky Cobb II by trooper Ryan Londregan last summer.

DPS Commissioner Bob Jacobson praised Langer for his leadership.

"It's always hard to see a compassionate, strong and dedicated leader like Col. Langer leave for another opportunity, but we know he will continue making an impact on public safety in his new role," Jacobson said. "Thanks to Col. Langer's leadership, the State Patrol is well positioned to continue serving the people in this state and supporting our law enforcement partners."

Langer is taking the job of director of global policing at the Virginia-based Chiefs of Police Association. A search to find his replacement will begin immediately, Jacobson said.