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'I have not arrived at this decision easily': Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn set to retire in July

Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn
Pittsfield Police Department
Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn

Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Police Chief Michael Wynn announced Tuesday that he will retire in July 2023, after almost three decades working in city law enforcement.

Wynn was unavailable for comment but said in a statement that while serving as chief of the Pittsfield Police Department has been the pinnacle of his professional achievements, "after 15 years in command, nearly 27 years with the department, and 29 years with the city of Pittsfield, the time has come for me to look to the next chapter of my life."

He said the decision to retire was made with mixed emotions.

An email on Tuesday to Wynn came back with an auto-reply message stating he has been on intermittent family leave since October.

Wynn became the department's permanent police chief under Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer who on Tuesday said Wynn has numerous qualities that make him an extraordinary leader, overtime earning him the respect of many, including community activists.

In 2020 in the weeks after George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer, Tyer said Wynn remained trusted by the community, and even invited to join in Black Lives Matter marches.

"While there were many questions in light of the national climate, there are many things that Chief Wynn implemented, years before, to ensure that our police department was highly trained and highly professional in our community," Tyer said.

Tyer said since the shooting death of Miguel Estrella by a Pittsfield police offer earlier this year, Wynn has been building up a social worker team inside the department for better "co-response" when police are called in during a mental health crisis.

Wynn, a Pittsfield native, was appointed in 2021 to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission. He's also the author of "Rising Through the Ranks, Leadership Tools and Techniques for Law Enforcement" published in 2008.

Jill Kaufman has been a reporter and host at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent 10 years at WBUR in Boston, producing "The Connection" with Christopher Lydon and on "Morning Edition" reporting and hosting. She's also hosted NHPR's daily talk show "The Exhange" and was an editor at PRX's "The World."