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St. Johns police chief back from 6-week leave, city still won't say what prompted it

St. Johns Police Department
Posted at 6:32 PM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 18:32:35-04

ST. JOHNS, Mich. — St. Johns Police Chief David Kirk was placed on leave for nearly two months. He returned to work Monday, but the city is still keeping mum on why exactly he was placed on leave in the first place.

FOX 47 News reached out to Kirk directly, who said that the leave was not disciplinary, nor was it a result of policy violations.

Kirk said that he personally would welcome the opportunity to comment but said that he has "been instructed to direct all media inquiries to our city manager Dave Kudwa."

Kudwa was not available for an interview at any point this week, but a public relations firm sent a statement from Kudwa by email.

The email said that Chief Kirk was placed on leave in April in response to "staff concerns about the work environment at SJPD."

Kudwa said he felt the need to create space in the department to effectively understand the situation. What that situation was, he wouldn't share.

"Over the past six weeks, our city attorney conducted interviews with members of the SJPD. These in-depth conversations allowed us to identify areas of improvement like communication, policy and procedure implementation, workplace incentives, community visibility and officer engagement," Kudwa wrote in a statement.

Now that he is back, Kudwa said Chief Kirk will be working with an independent facilitator to effect positive change at the department.

How exactly, time will tell.

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