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SHP colonel steps down

The head of the State Highway Patrol is stepping down, as expected with the new administration in state government.

Col. Michael Gilchrist, who has been the commander since October 2010, will retire effective Friday. His second in command, Lt. Col. Gary Bell, will serve as acting commander until a final choice is made.

Kieran Shanahan, secretary of the state Department of Public Safety, issued a statement Tuesday praising Bell’s qualifications for the job, noting he has risen through the ranks over the past 27 years.

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