KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The news of Police Chief Eve Thomas setting a retirement date took many who have worked with her by surprise Friday. Thomas announced she will retire in May after almost four years as the leader of the department.

“I saw it on social media this morning and it was a bit of a shock because I know that she hasn’t been in the position that long,” said Neighborhood Advisory Council member Breyaunna Holloway.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director David Rausch promoted Thomas to deputy chief during his tenure as chief of the KPD.

“I think that she is an amazing woman,” he said of Thomas. “She has done an amazing job as chief of police.”

Both Holloway and Rausch said the next chief will have to take more action to curb the gun violence in the city.

“I would say that KPD has done a good job of trying to do things considering the resources they have,” Holloway said.

“Many of our large urban areas, not only in Tennessee but throughout our country, are suffering from gun violence that’s unprecedented, and so there’s a lot of work to be done,” he said.

City Council member Tommy Smith said Thomas serves the city with “her whole heart.”

“I’m grateful for her service,” Smith said. “She particularly served over the past two years – some of the hardest times to lead – and I think she did a great job.”

Smith said he hopes the city looks inward for the next police chief.

“I’m looking forward to the search process for her replacement, and we need the best police chief.” he said. “Someone who has education in the field and someone who has ties in the community.”