South Bend Releases Newest Version of Police Discipline Matrix

Jun 18, 2020

South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski and Mayor James Mueller discuss the newest version of the police discipline matrix during a press conference on June 18th, 2020.
Credit Annacaroline Caruso / WVPE Public Radio

City of South Bend officials released the latest draft of the police discipline matrix Thursday. This comes after pressure from the community to see steps taken with police reform.

The discipline matrix outlines different penalties police officers would face depending on the severity of an offense.

As the matrix currently stands, there are six different categories of misconduct with increasing levels of discipline. For example, a deliberate weapon discharge outside of the use of force policy that endangers someone is the highest level of offense and would result in termination.

Some other factors come into play as well with the matrix, like whether the officer made efforts to correct a problem or had obvious ill-intent.

South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski says the discipline matrix is meant to create a more clear system of consequences for officer misconduct.

“One of the things, personally in my position, that I’m most happy with is that [the discipline matrix] takes away a lot of the arbitrary decisions out of my hand,” he says.

South Bend Mayor James Mueller says he hopes this document can start building trust between the residents and the police department.

“This is not meant to go after our officers," he says. "This is meant to give clarity to both the community and our officers.”

The City of South Bend is continuing to take online public comments about the matrix. Officials say it’s a living document and is meant to continue being updated.

The discipline matrix is expected to be voted on during the July Board of Public Safety meeting.

Contact Annacaroline at acaruso@wvpe.org or follow her on Twitter at @AnnacarolineC16

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