NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Acting New Haven Police Chief Renee Dominguez walked out of headquarters one last time on Friday. She’s retiring from the department, but likely not from policing altogether.

“I’ve been here for 20 years. I love everything about it. I transferred here and it’s the best decision I ever made,” Dominguez said.

News 8’s Eva Zymaris sat down with the chief on her last day. She says coming to the New Haven Police Department was one of the best decisions she’s ever made and today is bittersweet.

“Even with how things in the past year have played out, I still have no regrets. I wouldn’t do anything different,” Dominguez said.

At the age of 21, Dominguez joined the New Haven Police Department. Through the years, she worked her way up the ranks, ultimately becoming the interim chief last year.

“This week, I’ve had so many women who have said, ‘seeing you as the chief of police has made me realize there’s so much more for me here,’” Dominguez said.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker pushed to make this move permanent, but her nomination was rejected by the Board of Alders. The plan was to keep Dominguez in this role until a new chief was named, but a lawsuit was filed, claiming the city charter was violated by keeping her in this interim role for more than six months.

Dominguez says she decided to retire a little early, keeping her department in mind.

“They deserve a break from the negativity because they do such good work and they’re doing such good work. If me retiring a month or two earlier than it was the plan, that’s the last thing I can do for them,” Dominguez said.

On her last day, there was a big sendoff for her.

“I’m overwhelmed. I’m truly overwhelmed. I didn’t expect all this to happen,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez walked out of the police department with her family by her side, taking those first steps into her next chapter.