Allentown Interim Police Chief Tony Alsleben is stepping down.
Alsleben is leaving the department effective September 6, according to city communications manager Mike Moore.
During a summer of mounting violence in Allentown, where 27 people have been shot since June 1 and amid criticism over police leadership, Mayor Ray O'Connell had nominated Alsleben for the permanent chief position.
Allentown City Council had been set to vote on September 16 on whether to confirm Alsleben to be permanent police chief. Alsleben said in a statement he was withdrawing his name from consideration.
"Over the last several weeks, my nomination for confirmation, whether it be for political or personal reasons, has become the source of much contention," Alsleben said.
He said the contention was a distraction at a time when the city needed to be united and the department to remain focused on its mission.
"My hope is that residents, city council and the administration will continue to work together to move our great city forward," he said.
He had been appointed interim chief by Mayor Ray O'Connell in April 2018.
City councilman and former police captain Daryl Hendricks said a change had to be made, saying data he's looked into shows a lack of leadership and the top. He adds he's glad Alsleben realized that and stepped down.
"Chief Alsleben was a fine interim leader of the department," said O'Connell. "That's why I had hoped that he would be chief of the department for years to come. He should be credited for things like the establishment of the fifth platoon which statistics show is paying great dividends. I wish Tony nothing but the best in the future."
Alsleben said, "The City has always been a part of my soul and I'm truly grateful for the opportunity to serve my city as chief. I am proud of what we have accomplished during the time I was asked to serve as chief. The men and women of this department are hardworking dedicated professionals who always persevere regardless of the challenge. It has been my honor to serve with them over the last 19 years."
Alsleben was born and raised in Allentown. He joined the department as a patrol officer in 2000 and was transferred to the police academy in December 2007.
Alsleben was promoted to the rank of sergeant in December 2008 at which time he accepted the position of department quartermaster.
Alsleben assumed command of the Allentown Police Academy in September 2012.
He was promoted to captain in 2014, serving the East Side and Center City over the next three years.
Immediately prior to his interim appointment he served as administrative captain and police liaison for special events in the city.
Mayor O'Connell will meet with staff to begin discussing next steps following the effective date of Alsleben's departure.