Salary Increase For South Bend Police Officers Tabled

Jun 8, 2020

Protesters gathered outside South Bend Common Council President Tim Scott’s house Monday morning to demand council members vote ‘no’ on salary raises for police officers at their upcoming meeting Monday night.
Credit Annacaroline Caruso / WVPE Public Radio

UPDATE: The South Bend Common Council Finance Committee voted to table a bill that would have increased pay for the city’s police officers by 2.5 percent. The action came before the measure even went before the council as a whole Monday night. This comes after activists protested the pay raise throughout the day on Monday.

Before the meeting, Council President Tim Scott asked Mayor James Mueller to pull the bill but he declined.

Mueller says the bill would have helped with a police officer shortage that the South Bend Police Department is experiencing.

 “We worry about falling where we can’t answer a resident’s call when they call asking for help if we don’t have enough officers and we’re not able to get there.”

Mueller also says he’s worried the officer shortage will be worse without the pay raise since a third of South Bend’s Police Officers are eligible for retirement.

But protesters felt that with the recent death of George Floyd and the approaching one year anniversary of Eric Logan’s death, the pay raises would have been poor timing.

The Council Finance Committee ultimately decided on a 3 to 1 vote to table the bill for further discussion. 

PREVIOUS: Protesters gathered outside South Bend Common Council President Tim Scott’s house Monday morning to demand council members vote ‘no’ on salary raises for police officers at their upcoming meeting Monday night. 

Protesters stood in front of Scott’s home in the Near Northwest Neighborhood holding signs reading ‘Defund the Police,’ and ‘Invest in Communities, Not Cops.’ Scott says he was at work by the time the protesters arrived.

The common council is expected to vote on a bill that would give South Bend Police Officers a 2.5 percent salary increase during a meeting Monday night.

The demonstrators also plan to protest in front of the County-City building Monday afternoon prior to that meeting.

Black Lives Matter member Katheryn Redding told the crowd of protestors the money should be invested elsewhere.

“We don’t feel like the South Bend Police Department deserves a raise when we have officers who still have not been reprimanded," she says. "We don’t feel like they deserve a raise when we have black men being killed by the police here in South Bend.”

Black Lives Matter member Jorden Giger says instead of pay raises, the money should be put toward violence intervention.

“Why should the police department get a pay raise when they just murdered a black man last year? You have yet to accept accountability for it. You have yet to implement any real changes,” he says.

Scott said in a statement that he asked South Bend Mayor James Mueller to pull the bill to allow for more public discussion.

Giger says he doesn’t want the bill to be pulled, he wants the council to vote ‘no.’

(Read Tim Scott's full statement below)

Protest at Tim Scott’s house 

First, Black Lives Matter. 

Second, George Floyd was flat out murdered. 

Third, systematic racism in our police department or any governmental department must be eliminated, this entire council is committed to this goal; as stated in our press releases. 

Fourth: I have asked the Mayor to pull Bill 21-20, to allow more public discussion. 

Fifth point: I am proud to be a sponsor with Vice-President Karen L White and Committee of the Whole Chairperson, Sharon McBride on Resolution 2016: A Resolution of the Common Council of South Bend Indiana, Denouncing in the Strongest Possible Terms All Acts of Racial Profiling, Police Brutality and the Use of Excessive Police Force Throughout the Country. 

This resolution will be heard Monday. 

BTW the Common Council meetings are Virtual. 

Committee starts at 4:30 here is the TEAMS Link:Virtual Conference call via Microsoft TeamsJoin here: https://tinyurl.com/CC060820

Formal meeting starts at 7:00pm here is the TEAMS Link: ***Due to the Executive Order by Indiana Governor Holcomb, the South Bend Common Council meeting will be legally held by way of a virtual meeting by using Microsoft Teams app. Public access to the meeting can be granted by this link:https://tinyurl.com/SBCC060820

 As an elected official I welcome the right to assemble and the right to freedom of speech. I will be at work by the time you are at my house, but I here you and you are welcome to protest. 

To Black Lives Matter and everyone; I do hear you. I am committed to legislative opportunities so JUSTICE FOR ALL truly means JUSTICE FOR ALL. There is work to be done and conversations to be had. 

Now to Bill 21-20 and my role. 

The Bill 21-20 was submitted by the administration for a public vote. The Administration is the sponsor and can pull the bill if it chooses. Each bill that is filed needs a council sponsorship, if it is filed by the administration, the council President is stamped as the council sponsor, if no other council members wanted to sponsor this bill or any other. 

As President of the South Bend Common Council, I cannot unilaterally pull any Bill at any time.  On May 26th, this Common Council sent Bill 21-20 to the Personnel and Finance Committee for Public Hearing and then will be determined, by those four committee members on the following four options: 1. Send to the full council with either a favorable recommendation; 2. Send to the full council with an Unfavorable recommendation; 3. Send to the full council with No Recommendation; 4. Delay the bill to another date or indefinitely. 

As President of the Council, I do not sit on committee nor vote in committees. 

George Floyd died on Monday 25th, one day before the South Bend Common Council made a motion to send Bill 21-20 AMENDING ORDINANCE NOS. 10472-16 AND 10682-19 AS TO THE ANNUAL  PAY  AND  RESIDENCY  INCENTIVE  PAY  OF  SWORN MEMBERS  OF  THE  SOUTH  BEND  POLICE  DEPARTMENT  FOR CALENDAR YEAR 2020. 

This bill would give officers a 2.5% raise immediately in 2020 and increase the residency funding from $400.00 to $2,500.00. South Bend ranks 7th in pay in 4th in population. 

As in other bills of controversy a delay is in order to allow for the public to discuss and give input.

My only other role is one of nine votes as part of the council full council in the Committee of the Whole and in Full Council final vote. 

Just so you are all aware, I personally support tax increases when it comes to the following: Teachers, Education (I voted YES twice), Fire Fighters and Police - always have always will. I also support the rule that we should not have bad professionals or racist - period. When I say I support, I support those doing business the right way.

Peace!