ST. ALBANS (AP) -- A Burlington deputy police chief who was charged with drunken driving has agreed to plead no contest to a reduced charge of negligent operation and plans to retire after 24 years with the department.

Andi Higbee, 44, of Colchester is expected to be fined $500 when he is sentenced in April, according to a plea agreement.

Police Chief Mike Schirling said that Higbee planned to retire.

"The Department has accepted that course of action. It should be noted that he has been eligible to retire from service at any point in the last 4 1/2 years and will end his career with more than 24 years of full time service to the city," Schirling said in a news release.

"Deputy Chief Higbee has served the department and the citizens of Burlington and Vermont with energy, compassion and distinction for the better part of a quarter century. His contributions to law enforcement and the safety and health of our community will be long standing," Schirling said.

The plea deal allows him to resume driving. He also will be expected to undergo alcohol screening.

The plea averted the second day of a hearing to consider a defense request to dismiss the DUI charge.

"I do feel it was an appropriate resolution" Vermont Superior Court Judge Marty Maley said.

Higbee was placed on paid administrative leave following his arrest on July 21 in Sheldon. He returned to work in September and was assigned to non-law enforcement duties until his case was resolved.