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After stalling for years, South Bend police community review board ready to start

 South Bend Police Car
Marek Mazurek
South Bend Police car

More than three years after the South Bend Common Council passed a bill creating a police community review board, it might soon finally be coming into existence.

Responding to a question from an impatient audience member Monday night, Council President Sharon McBride said the day has finally arrived. At the council’s next meeting March 11, McBride says it will hear first reading of a bill to appoint the police community review board’s nine members. Each person has been nominated by a council member.

Once seated, the board will work with office Director Charles King to investigate complaints of police misconduct. It will have no power to discipline officers but can make recommendations to the entity that already handles officer discipline under Indiana law, the city’s mayor-appointed Board of Public Safety.

"The day is finally here," McBride told WVPE Tuesday. "It is actually amazing for us to finally get it together. It's been a long time coming and I know the community is excited, and the council is very much excited about it."

The process was delayed in 2021 when then-city Clerk Dawn Jones hired an office director, Joshua Reynolds, who had been suspended seven times in his previous job as an Indianapolis police officer. After the South Bend Tribune reported on Reynolds’ past, Jones ignored calls from Mayor James Mueller and the council to fire him but he quit.

It was unclear what King might do first with the board, how long their training will take, and when they will start hearing complaints. McBride deferred those questions to King, but Mayor James Mueller’s spokeswoman declined to allow King to be interviewed Tuesday.

Parrott, a longtime public radio fan, comes to WVPE with about 25 years of journalism experience at newspapers in Indiana and Michigan, including 13 years at The South Bend Tribune. He and Kristi live in Granger and have two children currently attending Indiana University in Bloomington. In his free time he enjoys fixing up their home, following his favorite college and professional sports teams, and watching TV (yes that's an acceptable hobby).