Celori met with Mayor Vern Little on Nov. 5. The two agreed it would be best for the city to find new leadership for the 25-officer department, Celori said.
The decision was mutual, but "we're all sad," City Administrator Jan Berg said.
On Friday, Celori and Berg both said they couldn't discuss the matter in any detail until after an agreement is signed.
Cmdr. Dan Lorentzen is serving as interim chief. City Council members are expected to begin making plans for filling the position soon.
The past few chiefs, including Celori, came from internal promotions, and Lake Stevens has grown significantly since then, Berg said. They plan a full recruitment process and could consider internal applicants.
As chief, Celori was paid about $121,500 a year.
Rumors have flown around town that City Hall was looking to outsource police services under a contract with the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office, as several other cities have done in recent years.
As of Friday, the sheriff's office had not been approached by Lake Stevens officials or been asked for a bid, spokeswoman Shari Ireton said.
"The sheriff welcomes any opportunity to discuss a partnership with any Snohomish County community," she said. "Officially, no one's come to us and requested our services."
Some people in town have urged council members to consider a sheriff's contract, Berg said.
Some council members have asked for information about a contract, but the consensus seems to be sticking with the city's police department, she said.
"We feel obligated to look at that, but that's not a direction the city wants to go," she said.
Celori joined the department in the mid-1990s. He also served in the U.S. Army for 16 years.
Celori became chief in 2001.
He served the city well, Berg said.
Celori said he is proud of his accomplishments as chief, including building a new police station, achieving state re-accreditation and building a partnership with local schools.
He also served as president of the city's Chamber of Commerce. He is eligible for retirement in a couple of months, he said.
"I have no regrets," he said. "I'm looking forward to transitioning to my next stage. I've always been a dedicated and passionate police chief, and I've been honored to serve the city of Lake Stevens."
Celori lives in Mill Creek with his family. He's already received a few job offers but plans to take a few months off to hang out with his kids and work on his house, he said.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; email@example.com.
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