Kalamazoo will have a new Public Safety chief at the end of the month. The change in leadership was announced last (Wednesday) night.
Karianne Thomas has led Kalamazoo Public Safety since 2017 and has been with the department for 27 years. The city says she will retire September 30th. Thomas has faced criticism for the way the department handled Black Lives Matter protests earlier this year, and for not stepping in before violence erupted at an event held by the far-right group The Proud Boys.
In a statement Kalamazoo City Manager Jim Ritsema says “Chief Thomas has truly been an outstanding public safety chief and community leader and we wish her and her family all the best in her retirement,” Assistant Chief Vernon Coakley will take over October first. He joined the Kalamazoo department in 1998, and became assistant chief in 2017.