Mayor Buttigieg reacts to Metro Homicide commander's suspension

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is reacting to the suspension of one of the most powerful officers in St. Joseph County.

Wednesday, Metro Homicide Commander Tim Corbett got his punishment handed down to him and it all stems from the tape scandal at the South Bend Police Department. South Bend Police officer Jack Stilp said Corbett threatened him because he was openly against the demotion of then police chief Daryl Boykins.

An independent investigation was launched into the allegations and Wednesday a special board found that no threats were made, but it did not like Corbett's behavior.

The mayor said he respects the prosecutor's decision, "Look, it's not possible to do the job of law enforcement unless there is faith and confidence, in the community, that officers are doing the right thing".

The mayor said the board that included the St. Joseph County Prosecutor made the right move to suspend the head of the Metro Homicide Unit.

"I think that there are sometimes perceptions that run away, based on what people are hearing, rumors, hear say, things that get picked up in the media, but the reality is that we've got some terrific, professional law enforcement officers," said Buttigieg.

Prosecutor Michael Dvorak said the integrity y of the Metro Homicide Unit is being questioned because of how Corbett talked to officer Stilp. Despite Stilp's claims that he was threatened, the board found that Corbett's behavior was unprofessional. His language inappropriate and that his actions undermined public and police agency confidence.

The commander was suspended for five days without pay for his conduct, "We looked at if this was a threat, harassment or intimidation. It's not threat, harassment or intimidation. It was discourteous, and there will be disciplinary actions taken for that," said Dvorak.

These actions are some of the very ones the mayor was trying to avoid. That is partly why he demoted former Police Chief Boykins in April.

"The single most important thing we can do is make sure there is good leadership. That is why we are investing so much effort and time in this police search," said the mayor.

Buttigieg said he invites the community to get to know local law enforcement better so they can see for themselves that officers work hard and are professionals. The mayor said it could help bridge the gap between the community and police.

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