Dec. 24--The MTA's top cop is calling it quits.
Owen Monaghan, who has headed the agency's police department since 2017, sent a message to colleagues on Monday announcing that he will retire on Jan. 5.
"This will be my last Christmas as a member of the MTAPD," Monaghan wrote in the email, which was obtained by the Daily News. "After 38 years in law enforcement and three challenging but rewarding years as Chief, I have decided to hang up the gun belt and spend more time with family while pursuing other interests."
Monaghan's announcement comes less than a week after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board approved a controversial plan to hire 500 new cops to patrol the city's subways and buses.
For decades, the MTA police force has primarily focused on the Long Island and Metro-North railroads, while the subway has been the turf of the NYPD's Transit Bureau.
MTA honchos have not been able to answer how the MTA and NYPD cops will coordinate with each other in the subway -- and the agency is not sure where the new hires will be trained.
Police sources told The News in November that there is "no room to accommodate the MTA trainees" at the NYPD's police academy in Queens, where the MTA's officers have been trained for years.
MTAPD chief of operations Joseph McGrann will take over for Monaghan on an interim basis while the agency launches a nationwide search for a replacement.
Monaghan joined the MTA in 2015 as vice president of security, and was promoted to the head of the police department two years later. The MTA's commuter rails saw record-low crime in 2018 under his leadership.
The chief previously served 34 years with the NYPD, which included leadership roles in the department's Transit Bureau.
MTA chairman Pat Foye said he was "extremely grateful" for Monaghan's service.
"Chief Monaghan's leadership and deep background in transportation security have been of critical importance for the MTA PD and we wish him all the best in his next chapter," Foye said.
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