- Associated Press - Monday, September 22, 2014

BARRY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - The former police chief in a small western Michigan community was given two months’ pay with benefits as part of his agreement to resign last month.

Victor Pierce’s annual salary was $42,500 as Barry Township’s police chief, making two months’ pay nearly $7,100, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported (https://bit.ly/1si64VE ).

The newspaper obtained the separation agreement between Pierce and Barry Township through a Freedom of Information Act request that had been initially denied. Barry Township cited a gag order in the agreement at Pierce’s request, but later released the document after the newspaper appealed the denial.

Residents criticized Pierce for appointing 34 reserve officers, which some said was too many for the community of about 3,300 people.

Theft and burglary have historically been the most serious crimes in the area. Pierce had said a show of force is needed in small communities that believe they’re immune to violence.

Pierce resigned in the face of a performance review over his enforcement approach.

The separation agreement was drafted during a closed township board meeting Aug. 7. During the open portion of the meeting, Pierce released a statement that said he loved the community and was grateful for the citizens that have supported him.

“However, it is clear that my effectiveness as the leader of this department has been diminished by this controversy,” the statement said.

The Michigan State Police is helping the township with police administrative oversight since Pierce’s resignation.

The Barry Township board will meet Thursday to discuss the advertising process for a new police chief and conducting interviews.

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Information from: Kalamazoo Gazette, https://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo

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