New Police Review Board Director faced 7 suspensions as Indy cop

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The man in charge of the Community Police Relations Board aimed at holding officers accountable is now in the hot seat himself.

Josh Reynolds was suspended 7 times in the 7 years he worked for the Indianapolis Metro Police Department, according to officials there.

Reynolds doesn’t even have an office at the County-City building yet and has already been a topic of controversy twice.

But now he wants to own up to his record.

“I’ve made mistakes in my past," Joshua Reynolds, the Director of the Community Police Review Board in South Bend said.

Reynolds is still adjusting to his new role, but his story doesn’t start in South Bend.

Officials tell ABC57 News he worked at the Indianapolis Metro Police Department for 7 years and in that time he was suspended 7 times – the last one with a recommendation to discharge.

Everything from forced entry into a home, failure to respond in a timely manner and posting derogatory comments on social media.

Local police leaders, not happy these details slipped through the cracks in the hiring process.

“Here at our police department, that officer would be fired a long time ago," Harvey Mills, the Fraternal Order of Police President said.

“I own up to my mistakes. There were definitely things that I did wrong. As a young officer, I made a mistake on a policy violation that I was unaware of," Reynolds said. “I made some really stupid ignorant, sexist comments. I made negative comments on a coworker in the department – entirely inappropriate.”

However, Reynolds claims that some of the suspensions were out of retaliation.

"There were a couple of times being on IMPD that I did report officers and I reported supervisors and I can show clearly on a timeline that I did this the next day this happened," he said.

He said he brought the issue to the city and they offered him a settlement and he later resigned.

Now, in his new role, he will be heading investigations into the South Bend Police Department policies and officer misconduct.

Some worry, he’s not the man for the job.

"We had heard some rumors from friends at Indianapolis Police Department that there may be some things in his background that we should be made aware of," Mills said.

Mills said he believes there is even more on Reynolds we still don’t know about.

Some question why this wasn't addressed during the hiring process.

"We’re appalled – absolutely furious actually. At the beginning of this process, we asked the people in charge of this review board that anybody in this process will be vetted, full background checks and would be qualified to run that job this person is obviously not," Mills said.

Tana: Why didn’t it come up in the interview process or any kind of research or anything?

“I don’t know that’s a tough question," Reynolds said. “I don’t try to hide it but I’m also not going to just offer it up with new people I don’t even know. Yeah, we can have an intelligent conversation and I can tell you I have had many more failures than what we’re talking about as a part of my employment record.”

Dawn Jones, the City Clerk and the one who hired Reynolds, only heard about the suspensions Wednesday.

Tana: “Do you think that’s a testament to his character?"

“I think that’s excessive and I think that’s a testament to what the system is displaying," Jones said.

Despite regretting not asking more about his past, she said this doesn’t change her decision to hire him.

“I have no reasons to not believe him," Jones said. “Him being willing to come forward to say I was trained in the same mindset but I had to take a step back and say this is not who I want to be and the system needs to change.”

While some want Reynolds to be fired or resign, others say his experience will help him in this new role.

The list of causes for Reynolds' suspension, provided by the Indianapolis Metro Police Department, include:

- Warrantless forced entry into a home without probable cause that a felony has been committed.

- Failure to maintain police vehicle by allowing it to run out of gas while driving.

- Failure to improve performance and posting derogatory comments about department personnel on social media.

- Failure to respond in a timely manner to a priority police run and expedited request for back-up from a fellow officer

- Sustained citizen’s complaint for using rude and demeaning language about the complainant’s juvenile daughter on social media.

- Failure to improve performance and follow remediation plan after multiple disciplinary measures, specifically failure to mark inservice and respond to radio runs.

- Recommended for discharge. Failure to improve performance and follow remediation plan after multiple disciplinary measures, specifically failure to mark in-service and respond to radio runs.

Mayor Mueller sent over this statement:

"I continue to support the Common Council's efforts to establish the Community Police Review Board and believe that it is important for this entity to be independent from the City administration to promote greater trust between our community and our officers. Because the Review Office falls under the City Clerk, my administration was not involved in the selection process for the director,” said Mayor James Mueller. “These findings regarding the director’s past conduct are clearly problematic and undermine the community’s trust in this board. I will look into these issues further and work with the City Clerk and Common Council to find the best way to get this back on track.”

Black Lives Matter sent over this statement, hoping for a virtual sitdown with Reynolds:

"We are as disgusted as most by these uncovered details, but certainly not surprised. Officer misconduct is common and often goes unchecked. 

This situation surrounding his hiring could have been averted if there was a greater public presence in the hiring process for this position. In our opinion, the process was a very backwards way of vetting candidates and the issues uncovered should have been identified prior to the Director's hiring.

BLM South Bend wanted candidates for this position to participate in a public forum to meet the community they would possibly serve, but our suggestion was rejected.  We recognize that the city cannot mandate applicants to attend a public-facing forum because of confidentiality in the hiring process; however, it is within legal bounds to offer such participation as an optional part of the application process.

We have invited the new Director Josh Reynolds to engage in a public forum with us and the Michiana Alliance on Wednesday, August 4th at 6 PM via Zoom. We have many concerns about this new director. 

We're encouraging supporters to email Clerk Jones demanding that Josh Reynolds attend our forum. We will provide him with questions in advance. 

We worked tirelessly to get this legislation in place and we hope he will honor our work by attending."

Share this article:
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?