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City Of South Bend, Fraternal Order Of Police Announce Tentative Wage Agreement For 2021-2022

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Gemma DiCarlo / WVPE Public Radio
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The City of South Bend and the South Bend Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #36 announced a tentative wage agreement for 2021 and 2022 on Thursday, the chief goals of which are officer recruitment and retainment. 

Mayor James Mueller said that when he took office earlier this year, the South Bend Police Department ranked 43 in the state for its pension base, and was falling behind both regionally and statewide in terms of officer compensation.

If approved by the Common Council, the new wage agreement would increase pay for almost all classes of sworn officers, raising the pension base by 12.6 percent over the next two years. It would also raise recruitment bonuses by $150.

Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski said these increases will be critical in not only attracting new officers, which he said the department badly needs, but also keeping those officers from seeking employment elsewhere.

“We need to get our department up where it needs to be," he said. "That’s what we’re looking for — bring people in, bring people in from here and keep them here.”

The agreement will also increase the City Residency Incentive from $400 to $3,000 by 2022, which Mueller says he hopes will encourage officers to live in the neighborhoods they serve.

The Common Council will vote whether to adopt the wage agreement at its regular meeting on Monday, October 26.

Contact Gemma atgdicarlo@wvpe.orgor follow her on Twitter at@gemma_dicarlo

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Gemma DiCarlo comes to Indiana by way of Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and certificates in New Media and Sustainability. She has radio experience from her time as associate producer of Athens News Matters, the flagship public affairs program at WUGA-FM.
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