Hillsborough needs a new police chief after four-year veteran Clarence Birkhead announced his resignation today, choosing to focus squarely on his bid for the Orange County sheriff post.

Birkhead, 49, is running against Lindy Pendergrass, who has held the title of the county’s top cop since 1982, in the May 4 Democratic primary. The winner will face Buddy Parker in November.

‘I feel that I should devote all of my energies to my campaign,” Birkhead wrote in a resignation letter. ‘Under the circumstances, I feel it is best for the Town of Hillsborough and my campaign to step down.”

His last day will be April 2. The town plans to name an interim chief next week and select a successor in the next six months. Birkhead earned $92,751 annually. He accepted the job as Hillsborough police chief in 2005 having previously served in the same role at Duke University for since 1998.