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Work continues to build police-community relations in South Bend

NOW: Work continues to build police-community relations in South Bend

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — On Tuesday, cars on Sample Street in South Bend were honking not to move traffic along, but to support the city’s police officers. 

South Bend Common Councilman Jake Teshka, Sean Haas and a few others held signs supporting the police department and policing nationwide. 

“It’s important that we all support these men and women,” Teshka said. 

He said officers have told him that they do not feel support from the community. There have been rallies and marches since a deadly officer involved shooting in June and Teshka said he promised officers he would show them the community cares. 

“The least we could do stand out here in possibly inclement weather and hold some signs and show our support,” he said. 

While across town on Miami Street, a small group was left empty handed after attending a “Meet the Candidates,” for those applying for an empty seat on the city’s board of public safety. The board approves policies in the police department and disciplines officer who violate them. 

On Tuesday night, only one candidate showed up. However, the event was separate from the city’s selection process. 

According to the city, after opening applications to the public for the first time in July, 16 people applied for the seat. Last week, staff notified people on whether they made it to the next round. 

The city said they do not have a timeline to share when the seat will be filled.

Jorden Giger said he knows at least one person who did not make it to the next round. 

“For him to be excluded at this point I mean it’s a little concerning because you’re sort of like well why,” he said. 

Every applicant had to live in South Bend and collect 25 signatures to move forward in the process. 

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg answered the community’s call for civilians to be on the board after June’s shooting. Teshka said having another voice can’t be a bad thing. 

The group on Tuesday agreed. 

“Just someone who’s going to be a voice for the community,” Giger said. 

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