At a news conference at the Charles Martin Youth Center in South Bend, Mayor Pete Buttigieg says he wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice today.
This follows the June 16 shooting death of Eric Logan, who is black, by a white South Bend officer.
He says the city will start looking more at training and recruitment of officers. He says he wants to tear down any unnecessary or unfair barriers for applicants. “In order to do this right we need to give the Board of Public Safety more resources,” he says. He will ask for their budget to be increased in 2020 to accomodate more staff and funds for training.
There is a vacancy on the Board of Safety and he urges people with thoughts, ideas, and complaints to consider applying for that spot at the table.
“I’m putting out a call,” he says in reference to seeking out qualified diverse applicants to apply to the vacant Board of Safety seat as well as to the South Bend Police Department.
He says a public "process" will start in the coming weeks where community members can take the opportunity to review police policies related to investigations, recruitment, training, and the handling of complaints submitted to the department. No specifics of that process are yet available.
In response to a press release issued by the South Bend Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P.) that Buttigieg "recuse himself from all decisions" in the investigation, he says they misunderstood his intentions and he was not calling all officers racist in his recent comment about policing being under the shadow of racism.
"The last couple of weeks largely consisted in the community needing to express a great deal of hurt and officials needing to absorb that pain," Buttigieg says. "Now it's time for us to be active."