Local leaders criticize city’s decision to rehire embattled former Chicopee Police officer

Hampden County

CHICOPEE, MASS. (WWLP) – 22News has been hearing from concerned citizens following the city of Chicopee rehiring a retired police officer.

Last year, former Chicopee Police Officer Mike Wilk was demoted over offensive social media posts and later retired. Those posts citizens are saying are the reason Wilk should not be rehired. Wilk has been given the new title of Special Officer by the city of Chicopee. He was a 30 year veteran of the force before he was demoted from his position as a public information officer for the Chicopee Police Department in 2020.

Wilk was demoted after sharing social media posts that Mayor John Vieau characterized as racist. A year later the city is reappointing Wilk. According to a statement from Mayor Vieau, this decision was made “due to a deficiency in trained staff for local construction and traffic details throughout the city.”

Opponents of this decision told 22News that it is not a good enough reason to rehire Wilk adding racism has no place in their community.

“That is unacceptable in my opinion,” said Jim Tanhauser Jr., Ward One representative of the Chicopee School Committee. “He will still be wearing the badge of the city of Chicopee and that is a prestigious badge in this community and it is tarnished when an individual like that wears it and spews the comments that he does on social media.”

Mayor Vieau’s statement also says that every retired Chicopee Police Officer under the age of 65 has the opportunity in the City of Chicopee to return to duty as a ‘special police officer’ to assist in staff shortage details. Special officers can only work 960 hours per calendar year and cannot earn more than what they would’ve earned if they were in their current position.

Mayor Vieau goes on to say that Special Police officers are held to the same qualification standards as the other Chicopee Police Officers. Wilk will not be associated with any of the Chicopee Police Department’s social media pages.

The appointment of Mike Wilk to the Chicopee Police Department as a Special Police Officer was due to a deficiency in trained staff for local construction and traffic details throughout the city. Every retired Chicopee Police Officer under the age of 65 has the opportunity in the City of Chicopee to return to duty as an SPO to assist in staff shortage details. These Special Police retirees can only work 960 hours per calendar year and not earn more than what they would’ve earned if they were in their current position. Special Police Officers are held to the same qualification standards as the other Chicopee Police Officers. Special Officer Wilk will not be associated with any of the Chicopee Police Department’s social media pages.

Mayor John Vieau

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