Kalamazoo Police Chief Coakley Put On Administrative Leave After Charges Leveled
City of Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Vernon Coakley has been placed on paid administrative leave by City Manager James Ritsema after allegations of harassment were been filed by city employees against Coakley. Coakley has been relieved of all Public Safety authority and responsibilities. In conjunction with this investigation, the City of Kalamazoo has hired an outside, independent investigator to carefully investigate the accusations.
For the time being, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Deputy Chief David Boysen will serve as Acting Public Safety Chief until further notice. Coakley was sworn in to his position on October 1st, 2020 following the firing of his predecessor Karianne Thomas. (At first the city said she retired, but afterwards it was revealed she was fired.)
At an afternoon press conference, The city, through new Communication Chief Michael Smith, said it takes allegations of harassment very seriously and will fully investigate any claims as is required by law and the City’s personnel policies. However due to privacy policies and to "maintain the integrity of the investigation, and to protect the rights of all parties involved, no further information is available at this time", according to Smith.
Smith also could not provide a timetable for the investigation, saying "the findings of the investigation will be presented to the city manager and any further action will be determined by the facts."
This is not the first time there has been a cloud over the KDPS, with a scandal in the early 2000's, and with the removal of Thomas in 2020.