HELENA, Mont. -

The chief of the Montana Highway Patrol is retiring, citing "inappropriate remarks to subordinates," but he did not elaborate what the remarks were.

Col. Kenton Hickethier announced his retirement in an email statement Friday afternoon. He said the remarks had compromised his "ability to effectively lead Montana's Highway Patrol by example."

Hickethier's retirement is effective Sept. 30, but he is on leave until then. He took office in February and was a 28-year veteran of the highway patrol.

Montana Department of Justice spokesman John Barnes says officials are conducting a required legal analysis to determine what they can release from Hickethier's personnel file regarding his comments.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox will appoint a successor. But for now, Lt. Cols. Greg Watson and Tom Butler are in command.