Fired Wamego police chief Mike Baker thanks community for its support

13 NEWS at 10 p.m.
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 7:49 PM CDT
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WAMEGO, Kan. (WIBW) - In spite of community support shown at Tuesday night’s Wamego City Commission meeting, Mike Baker found out Wednesday morning that he had been relieved of his duties as police chief of the Pottawatomie County town of 4,800 residents.

Baker sat down with 13 NEWS on Wednesday afternoon for an exclusive interview in which he thanked the city’s residents for standing behind him.

“I want to thank the community for their support in all this,” Baker said. “It is a tragedy that I lost my job, but we’ll continue to move on and move on strong, because this community is a very strong community.”

Baker received a letter on Monday, June 13, from Wamego City Manager Stacie Eichem informing him he’d been suspended from his role as chief of police until Monday, June 20.

However, June 20 came and went and Baker hadn’t been reinstated to his position.

On Tuesday night, Baker’s supporters packed the Wamego City Commission to speak out on behalf of the chief.

However, on Wednesday morning, Eichem sent Baker a letter informing him he’d been fired.

In her letter on Wednesday, Eichem listed three reasons for Baker’s dismissal: insubordination; the inability to get along with fellow employees; and conduct that was unbecoming to a city employee.

Baker on Wednesday said the allegations leading to his dismissal were unsubstantiated and that he has contacted legal counsel to explore his options.

With his wife Lisa at his side, Baker told 13 NEWS on Wednesday that he’s been Wamego’s police chief since April 3, 2003. Before that, he served as an officer with the Wamego Police Department from 1987 to 2003.

“I’ve been doing it pretty much my entire life -- adult life,” Baker said, “so it’s all I know.”

When his wife asked Baker how much his job as police chief meant to him, he paused and said, “Well, pretty much the world.”

In spite of his dismissal, Baker continues his support of Wamego as a great place to live.

“This community is an amazing community,” he said. “People come together to make this -- it’s unbelievable. You know, I move here, I raise my kids here, and it’s a great town to live in.”

Deputy Police Chief Paul Schliffke was named as interim Wamego chief of police until the position can be filled permanently.

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