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Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Karianne Thomas resigns after 27 years on force

Karianne Thomas
KPDS
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Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Karianne Thomas is resigning.

Her resignation comes after criticism of how the department has handled Black Lives Matter protests, including how officers responded to a Proud Boys rally on August 15 where members of the far-right hate group violently clashed with counter protesters.

Thomas spent 27 years with the department and will step down at the end of the month. She's eligible for full retirement and will receive a one-year severance package, per her contract.

“I’m truly honored to have served the Kalamazoo community and its amazing residents for 27 years,” Thomas said in a statement. “I am proud to have served as Kalamazoo’s first female chief and I am excited to pass the baton to Assistant Chief Coakley, who has the leadership skills and vision to take this incredible department to the next level. I will truly miss the men and women who put it all on the line every day to keep our community safe.”

The city has named Assistant Chief Vernon Coakley to the post. He'll begin October 1.

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