City unveils changes to use of force policy

NOW: City unveils changes to use of force policy

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- After working and researching towards implementing change in the South Bend Police Department, South Bend Mayor James Mueller and South Bend Police Cheif Scott Ruszkowski announced new changes taking place in use of force policy within the police department.

“We have talked about a revised use of force policy that was forthcoming and that’s what we’re here to discuss today,” Mayor James Mueller said. “Policy is a bunch of words in the manual, but what matters is what happens when officers go and respond to calls for service, so making sure we have the training in place all officers know what’s expected of them and how to respond to real life situations.”

Police officers will receive mandated training and will be expected to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the policy.

Training will include de-escalation tactics and reducing the need for physical force.

“It needs to be absolutely understood by everybody,” South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski said. “Look we’d be remised or foolish to not to acknowledge not to acknowledge what’s going on around our country and people maybe not before having input to what we do, what we should have all along, makes a difference.”

Officers will also be trained on their duty to intercede, report violations, responsibilities, and what they’re prohibited against doing such as using choke-holds as a defense mechanism.

“Policing is about building our community and making our community feel safe,” Mueller said.

We should have all along have been listening to the input, the good bad or indifferent doesn’t matter its input! That’s how you make things better and hopefully someday there will be an achievement of best and hopefully we’re the place that does that,” Ruszkowski said.

Making adjustments to this policy, Mayor Mueller and Chief Ruszkowski hope will help make community members feel safer.

“There’s a just and fair system for everyone, everyone is feeling safe everyone is safe and there aren’t those incidents that we’ve seen pop up across the country,” Mueller said.

While community members safety is the end goal, they hope these changes can also help the people and the police department become more united.

“We want to be at the forefront and doing the best job we can and we think at the end, we’ll be one community, policing, our community will come together and the goal is a safe community for everyone,” Mueller said.

A virtual meeting will be held next Wednesday, August 26 at 7 PM for the public to join and vocalize any additional input or feedback on the public policy changes. More information can be found on their website.

The city will also take feedback through their electronic form.

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