BOSTON (SHNS) – As State Police Col. Christopher Mason prepares to step down later this week, Gov. Maura Healey is keeping her cards close to her chest on who she will appoint to fill the role, saying it’s something she is evaluating “this week.”

A 2020 police reform bill removed the requirement that the governor choose a colonel exclusively from inside the State Police. As Mason leaves the position he has had since 2019, this is the first opportunity for a governor to look outside of the organization for someone to lead it.

“Let me say first that I appreciate Colonel Mason’s service to the Commonwealth and I wish him the best in retirement, ” Healey told reporters Monday after an unrelated event. “I wish him the best in retirement. Obviously, this creates a new opportunity for the appointment of a new colonel and we’re evaluating that this week, including what process we’re going to undertake and how that’s going to go. So we’ll have more on that later.”

State law calls for the governor to appoint a colonel “upon the recommendation of the secretary of public safety and security.” The law requires that the colonel “have not less than 10 years of full-time experience as a sworn law enforcement officer and not less than 5 years of full-time experience in a senior administrative or supervisory position in a police force or a military body with law enforcement responsibilities.”

When pressed Monday on if she would look outside of the State Police for her appointee, she said, “These are all really important considerations and something we’re talking about right now.” Healey’s public safety secretary, Terrence Reidy, also held that same post during Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration.

Reidy was previously a state undersecretary for law enforcement, an assistant attorney general and an assistant district attorney.