Topeka The director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation plans to retire on March 1.
James Malson announced his plans Tuesday to KBI employees, then made his decision public. A spokeswoman for Atty. Gen. Bob Stephan, who appoints the KBI director, cited personal reasons.
Malson has worked for the KBI for almost 23 years and has been its director for a little more than two years. His retirement will end a 32-year law enforcement career.
Malson, 55, had planned to retire last year, but Stephan asked him to remain through the year, said Mary Horsch, the attorney general's press secretary.
``He just said he wanted to retire and take it easy,'' Ms. Horsch said.
She noted that Malson's announcement followed the retirement of his wife, Marilyn, who worked for the Douglas County sheriff's office until she retired in May 1991.
MRS. MALSON said there are no extenuating circumstances surrounding her husband's retirement, and said they plan to "take it easy for awhile, relax, maybe do some traveling."
Malson said he plans to return to their farm near Ottawa.
``It's been an honor and a privilege to serve as director for the past two years,'' he said.
As KBI director, Malson oversaw the work of about 190 employees, about 80 of them agents. Its annual budget is about $9.58 million.
The KBI handles criminal investigations for the attorney general's office, conducts criminal laboratory tests for law enforcement agencies across the state, coordinates law enforcement communications statewide and maintains a repository for criminal records.
STEPHAN said that during Malson's tenure, the KBI began using a computerized system to identify fingerprints and established a data bank containing genetic information about violent criminals. It also created a strike force to investigate illegal drug activities, Stephan said.
``I regret his decision to retire,'' Stephan said.
Malson started his career in April 1960 as a dispatcher for the Kansas Highway Patrol. He joined the Johnson County sheriff's office as a patrolman in October 1962, later becoming a detective.
He began working for the KBI in March 1969 and was stationed in Pratt as a livestock investigator. He later worked for the agency in Olathe and Ottawa, serving as its east region supervisor starting March 1988. He was appointed assistant director in December 1988 and director a year later.
Stephan said he has already approached two people about replacing Malson, but he and Ms. Horsch declined to identify them further.
``He just wants to get someone on board as quickly as possible,'' Ms. Horsch said.