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Kalamazoo public safety chief retiring after investigation finds harassment allegations credible

Артем Константин
Adobe Stock

The city of Kalamazoo is allowing Public Safety Chief Vernon Coakley to retire January 1. That’s after an outside report found that sexual harassment and verbal abuse allegations against Coakley were “credible.”

Coakley had been on paid administrative leave since August. That was after three women accused him of verbal intimidation and making sexually suggestive comments. An independent reportfound their allegations credible, with, quote, “a clear pattern of unwelcome sexual behavior towards at least three individuals.”

The report said Coakley has either denied making the comments, or said he was misunderstood.

But on December 21, he signed a separation agreement with the city. He’ll receive more than $155,000 in severance pay, and retire with a full police pension and benefits.

Interim Chief David Boysen will take over the Kalamazoo police department after Coakley’s departure.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.