The Pennsylvania State Police commander who helped lead the manhunt and capture of accused cop-killer Eric Frein has been demoted and stripped of his rank.

Lt. Col. George Bivens, the public face of law enforcement during the grueling, weeks-long hunt for Frein, who was wanted for ambushing two troopers, in 2014, will "revert to the rank of major" and be reassigned to head the agency's Bureau of Gaming Enforcement, according to an email sent Friday morning to agency employees.

Two people familiar with the move, which takes effect late next week, told Bivens was forced out as the agency's second-in-command by Gov. Wolf's most recent choice to lead the state police, Tyree C. Blocker.

Bivens, a well-liked and respected veteran among the agency's roughly 4,600 troopers and 1,600 civilians, was asked to retire or revert to a lower rank, the sources said. When Bivens refused to leave, he was reassigned. He was not given a reason for the change.

Alex Douglass, the trooper who survived the ambush Frein is accused of committing, said Friday that he was shocked by Bivens' demotion.