Rift between city councilman and police chief over use of force training

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A South Bend city councilman is speaking out after a disagreement with the city’s police chief on use of force training for officers. Common councilman Henry Davis Jr. putting out a statement Thursday afternoon in response to a statement from chief Scott Ruszkowski -- which came after Davis called out the Mayor and chief for not providing adequate training.

“I’ve lost faith. We’ve given them as much as we could during the last budget cycle and we’re still getting these same results so it’s time to figure out new leadership at this point," said Davis Jr.

A disagreement over the city’s use of force training for officers hitting a boiling point.

It started after a public safety board meeting Wednesday in which the department’s new use of force policy, was discussed.

Councilmember Henry Davis Jr., issuing a statement --- saying that during that meeting, officers disclosed they hadn’t gotten proper training on the policy --- and that was troubling to him.

Hours later, South Bend police chief Scott Ruszkowski released a statement on the department’s Facebook page.

Writing - “A councilmember yet again questioned my integrity publicly---and falsely alleged the south bend police department does not receive training on use of force.

These baseless claims are extremely dangerous and detrimental to our community and disrespectful to our dedicated officers."

“He responded to me as if I was the culprit. As if I was the person who said the training is not happening. I didn’t say that. The officer said the training is not happening,“ said Davis Jr.

The clash is being called an internal problem for the police department by Davis and something the common council wouldn’t have even known about had the officers not come forward.

“It’s my job to obviously check some of those things or most of those things because during the budgets process we are supporting it with taxpayer's dollars so we want the best outcome. Not only for the citizens in the city, but for also those who work for the city," said Davis Jr.

In the chief’s response, he says officers are required to acknowlege that they’ve received and understand all policy updates --- and get use of force training a minimum of two times a year.

We reached out to chief Scott Ruszkowski for this story and did not hear back.

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