South Bend Mayor gives update on city's response to deadly officer-involved shooting

NOW: South Bend Mayor gives update on city’s response to deadly officer-involved shooting


SOUTH BEND, Ind. — On Monday, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg updated the South Bend Common Council on the city’s response to a deadly officer-involved shooting from June 16. 

Mayor Buttigieg said he is considering ways to further community involvement in reviewing and evaluation police procedures and policies, which includes the following: 

  • A citizen seat on the Board of a Public Safety,
  • And the opportunity for community members to review body camera, pursuits, and use of force policies. 

However, after many calls from the community and the Common Council, the Mayor does not have plans to create a citizen review board. 

“I found it compelling,” said Buttigieg. “But I think right now all options should be on the table.”

Many of the options on the table, Buttigieg said are not new to city administration or the common council. At a town hall Buttigieg held following the officer-involved shooting, people questioned the Mayor and South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski on claims of the lack of policies and effective procedures in place at the department. 

“The work that is sought by the community and undertaken by the administration in these areas is not new but it needs to be renewed,” said Buttigieg. 

In a PowerPoint presentation, Buttigieg listed out past reforms implemented at SBPD. He said what has been put in place needs to be refocused. 

“And while this is again not new to the administration or to the council we might renew our attention to it and this to might have implications,” he said.

Mayor Buttigieg rolled out his plan for police and community relations which could include the following:

  • A possible department review,
  • And a budget increase for police-community relations in 2020. 

On Tuesday, Special Prosecutor Rick Hertel is set to introduce himself before he takes over the case. The Mayor’s update comes before any potential charges in the case have been filed. 

“That’s exactly why we need to do this work and why we can start this work even before we know what’s coming back after that investigation in this particular incident that triggered a community-wide conversation,” Buttigieg said. 

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