South Bend Police Department

Justin Hicks/WVPE

 


 

South Bend community police review board director Joshua Reynolds has agreed to turn over his past employment records to the common council.

 

That comes after the council rules committee unanimously voted last week to request or subpoena Reynolds’ employee records from his time as an Indianapolis Police Department and Butler University Police Department officer.

Justin Hicks/WVPE


The South Bend Common Council’s Rules Committee unanimously approved a resolution Monday night to request or subpoena personnel files and other background information on Joshua Reynolds from his time as an Indianapolis and Butler University police officer.

Justin Hicks/WVPE


South Bend’s new Community Police Review Board director Joshua Reynolds said he is not going to resign following last week’s revelation that he was suspended seven times during his work as an Indianapolis police officer.

Justin Hicks/WVPE

Mayor James Mueller wants Joshua Reynolds, the recently hired director of the city’s Community Police Review Board, to resign or be fired, the South Bend Tribune reported July 12.

 

Justin Hicks/WVPE

According to a July 8 article in the South Bend Tribune, Joshua Reynolds — the recently hired director of South Bend’s new Community Police Review Board — had seven unpaid suspensions during the seven years he was an Indianapolis police officer.

Zoom screenshot by Jakob Lazzaro / 88.1 WVPE

 


 

Established by the Common Council last fall, South Bend’s new Community Police Review Board is taking applications for membership. To apply, you must be a resident of South Bend and not a sworn law enforcement officer.

 

But the city hired former Indianapolis police officer Joshua Reynolds as the board’s first director last month. 

Gemma DiCarlo / WVPE Public Radio

Two years ago on June 16, Eric Logan, a Black man, was shot and killed by a white South Bend police officer near downtown South Bend.

Image provided by SBPD


After months of review, the South Bend Board of Public Safety approved changes to the city’s Police Use of Force Policy Wednesday. 

Jakob Lazzaro / 88.1 WVPE

South Bend city leaders held a meeting Tuesday night to gather community feedback on the South Bend Community School Corporation’s School Resource Officer program. About 70 people met at Washington High School to discuss whether police officers have a place in city schools.

Gemma DiCarlo / WVPE Public Radio

Activists with the local NAACP and Black Lives Matter chapter are calling for the removal of police officers from South Bend Community Schools, saying their presence violates state law.

When the City of South Bend passed a new Police Use of Force policy back in February, it was on the condition that it would be updated regularly. The Board of Public Safety received a second round of those updates at its meeting on Wednesday.

 

Local activist groups have been collaborating with the mayor’s office and police department to strengthen the language around when and how officers can use deadly force.

 

FILE

A judge has ruled audio recordings that allegedly contain South Bend police officers making racist comments must be turned over to the South Bend Common Council. Still, the so-called “police tapes” won’t be heard anytime soon.

 

The tapes issue goes back to 2011, when a former SBPD communications officer came across recorded phone calls from the line of an officer who didn’t know they were being recorded.

 

Concerns arose recently that South Bend police officers aren’t being properly trained on the department’s new Use of Force policy.

The new policy bans the use of chokeholds, emphasizes deadly force as a last resort and requires officers to report incidences of unreasonable force they've witnessed.

Screenshot captured via Microsoft Teams

When the Board of Public Safety passed the final version of the Use of Force policy back in February, many community groups were still calling for stronger and more specific language around the use of deadly force. 

South Bend Mayor James Mueller presented the first of those changes at the Board of Public Safety meeting on Wednesday. He said after several meetings with community leaders, the document now has a new definition and set of examples for the term “imminent threat,” as well as for “feasible” and “proportional” force. 

 

St. Joseph County law enforcement officials say they’ve seen a significant increase in catalytic converter thefts over the last two months. But, a piece of legislation in the Indiana General Assembly may help to stop it. 

South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski said “to say there’s been a rash” of catalytic converter thefts in the county “would be an understatement.” 

 

City of South Bend

The City of South Bend can now begin the hiring search for a director of the Community Police Review Office. The Common Council approved a job description for the position at its meeting on Monday, Jan. 25.

The director will report to the City Clerk and will oversee all complaints of police misconduct submitted to the Community Police Review Board. 

 

City of South Bend

On Thursday, the City of South Bend released a second draft of its Use of Force Policy that incorporates feedback from community members and other stakeholders.

Mayor James Mueller said the new draft mostly adds clarification to the first draft, which was released in August.

“There were suggested changes on all sides, and sometimes they were at odds with each other," Mueller said. "This draft is trying to find the balance of what’s right for our community.”

Image provided by SBPD

On Monday, Oct. 26, the South Bend Common Council voted to raise police salaries by about 9 percent over the next two years. However, some community members would rather see that money go elsewhere.

The Personnel and Finance Committee met Monday afternoon to discuss the wage ordinance and hear public comment.

At that meeting, Black Lives Matter - South Bend member Emmanuel Cannady said that instead of raising police salaries, the city should invest in proactive measures, like de-escalation and intervention training.

Gemma DiCarlo / WVPE Public Radio

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.

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. 

Gemma DiCarlo / WVPE Public Radio

South Bend Mayor James Mueller and Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski attended a meeting of the Southeast Organized Area Residents on Tuesday, Sept. 29, to discuss how to prevent community violence. 

The meeting came one month after the shooting of 7-year-old Chrisyah Stephens, which happened at a birthday party in the Southeast neighborhood.

Chief Ruszkowski said that in order to prevent similar community violence, neighbors need to communicate with each other and the police.

South Bend Mayor James Mueller and Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski presented a draft use of force policy for public review and feedback on Thursday (Aug. 20.)

You can read the draft here. 

Annacaroline Caruso / WVPE Public Radio

South Bend officials are concerned about what they describe as increasing amounts of gun violence and fighting in the city. 

Annacaroline Caruso / WVPE Public Radio

The results of a study conducted by a consulting firm that looked at the South Bend Police Department after a white officer shot and killed a black man last summer were made public for the first time this week. 

Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio

South Bend residents gave input on a rough draft of a police citizens review board bill during a public meeting Tuesday night. This is the first step of many before the board can be approved.

Annacaroline Caruso / WVPE Public Radio

Faith leaders met with South Bend Mayor James Mueller Thursday Morning to push for the adoption of a discipline matrix for South Bend Police Officers. It’s a document that outlines how an officer would be penalized or disciplined for different violations on the job. 

Salary Increase For South Bend Police Officers Tabled

Jun 8, 2020
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.

WVPE News / Annacaroline Caruso

South Bend residents met Thursday night with city leaders to further discuss the findings of the Eric Logan shooting investigation. Many community members are still angry.

Annacaroline Caruso/ WVPE News

The discussion about a set of discipline guidelines for the South Bend Police Department continued at a community meeting Tuesday night.

The proposed discipline matrix lays out punishments for officer misconduct. It's meant to improve consistency in disciplines given to officers.

Annacaroline Caruso

A group of local faith leaders gathered today Monday to call on the South Bend Board of Public Safety to approve the proposed discipline matrix for the police department.

The discipline matrix lays out a series of consequences for different categories of offenses. The goal is to be more clear about what the consequences of an officer's actions will be.

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