South Bend Common Council Establishes Community Police Review Board

Oct 5, 2020

Credit Screenshot captured via Microsoft Teams

After its regular meeting was cut short last week due to technical issues, the South Bend Common Council voted at a special meeting on Oct. 5 to establish a community police review board.

 

Some council members still had reservations about the ordinance. Fourth District Councilman Troy Warner expressed concern that the board wouldn’t be able to legally subpoena police officers during an investigation. 

“I think a judge may say that the state legislature has already created these powers for this purpose through the Board of Public Safety and that we have to use that method for the subpoenas.”

Fifth District Councilman Jake Teshka also expressed concern about the board’s subpoena power. Warner was said he was comfortable approving the ordinance. Teshka was the only council member to oppose it.

The review board will be made up of an appointed official from each council district and a full-time director, appointed by the City Clerk. The board will collect, track and report civilian complaints, as well as recommend additional investigation when necessary.

First District Councilman Cannath Lee said that giving people a voice in the policing process will strengthen the community rather than separate it. 

“Accountability is not a bad thing. It just helps to build the trust that individuals have in our community.”

(*Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the vote for the community police review board was unanimous. The vote was 8-1.)

Contact Gemma at gdicarlo@wvpe.org or follow her on Twitter at @gemma_dicarlo

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