COLOMA, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Coloma Township Police Chief Wes Smigielski didn’t start out being a police officer. He was a firefighter. After attending school in Howell, he went to Lansing Community College for “fire science” which helped him pass the state test at the age of 18.

Career changes along the way…

He worked at the Highland Park Fire Department in the middle of Detroit and then went back to Benton Harbor where he’d previously been a firefighter. It was there that he was hired as a patrol officer and then around 2005 went into the detective bureau.

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Smigielski told the Herald Palladium that he served as the chief investigator in Benton Harbor between 2007 and 2014. Seeking a change, he ventured to Charleston, South Carolina where he assumed the role of a police officer for approximately a year. However, he swiftly became disenchanted with the state of the schools in the area and made the decision to return to Michigan.

Smigielski lands as police chief of Coloma Twp.

Smigielski accepted a position as a patrolman in Coloma Township and about a year after the retirement of Chief Randy Pompey, Smigielski was working as a lieutenant under the new Chief, Jason Roe. When Roe left, Smigielski became the Chief and that’s where he’s been for about the last five or six years.

Smigielski’s work with the Coloma Township Police Department has earned him many accolades over the years, his newest one being inducted into the National Law Enforcement Hall of Fame and receiving the “Courage in Service Award.”

Other awards at Law Enforcement Hall of Fame presentation.

The award, which was given out on Friday, March 22nd at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel in Texas had Smigielski joining eight other law enforcement officers from around the country who were honored for their service.

The other awards handed out were for the Civilian Service to Law Enforcement Award, two other Courage in Service Awards, the Founder’s Award, School Resource Officer of the Year Award, Scherer-Remsberg Lifetime Achievement Award and the first ever Fox & Hound K9 Foundation K9 Hero Award.

What did Smigielski do?

Smigielski earned his award for an incident that happened in November of 2023 when he responded to a domestic violence call alongside colleague police officer Drew Wagner. The officers found themselves in a shootout and Wagner was struck by a bullet. Wagner lived but suspect was killed in the gunfire by Smigielski. Although Smigielski escaped injury, the incident underscored the risks

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officers face daily. The nomination for his induction into the hall of fame likely came from Wagner, although he remains mum about it.

Daughter delivers induction speech.

Accompanied by his 17-year-old daughter Zetah, who delivered his induction speech, Smigielski remains steadfast in his belief that every officer deserves recognition for their daily dedication to public safety, emphasizing the collective effort of law enforcement.

The National Law Enforcement Hall of Fame, founded by Adam Davenport, aims to honor officers who exceed expectations in their service. Smigielski’s career trajectory, spanning from his beginnings in fire science to his current role as police chief in Coloma Township, reflects his commitment to public safety amid the challenges and evolving nature of police work.

Despite these challenges, Smigielski finds satisfaction derived from solving cases, especially murders, and delivering justice to victims’ families, highlighting the camaraderie and support among law enforcement professionals.