November 16, 2023
Today, Mayor James Mueller and the South Bend Police Department provided updates on the 21st Century Policing Practices (21CP) in the city.
“I am proud of our community and officers for working together to ensure we deliver public safety services the best way possible,” said Mayor James Mueller. “SBPD continues to lead, and I appreciate all of our officers’ efforts to keep our neighborhoods safe for everyone.”
In October 2019, the City commissioned a 21CP report to assess the South Bend Police Department, focusing on development of forward-looking recommendations that would enhance SBPD’s operations, procedures, and approaches in six focus areas: use of force and de-escalation, body-worn cameras, bias-free policing, accountability, community engagement and participation, and officer well-being, recruitment, retention and developing the narrative.
Key highlights and accomplishments since adapting 21CP include:
- A new Use of Force (UOF) policy was approved by the Board of Public Safety in June 2021.
- 18 Crisis Intervention Training/Team (CIT) officers at SBPD with 40 hours of initial and ongoing training.
- A working agreement was formed with Oaklawn Mobile Crisis response team in 2022 and a funding agreement was also formed to establish a 24/7 Behavioral Health Crisis Center, which will be located at Memorial Epworth.
- A Discipline Matrix adopted by the Board of Public Safety in July 2020 that creates consistency and predictability.
- SBPD added 2 new Community Resource Officers (CROs) in September 2023 to serve on the front lines of community-police relations.
- SBPD expanded job marketing efforts, made pay adjustments, added new incentives, increased efficiency in hiring process, made recruitment a year-round effort, and has reached comfortable staffing levels with 245 sworn officers as of November 2023.
- Polis Solutions provided instructor training for de-escalation in May 2021 and a Virtra Simulator was purchased by SBPD to provide offers with immersive scenarios that mimic real-life incidents.
- SBPD was provided with implicit bias training in August 2021 and is now a required training for all new officers.
- Chiefs and Captains obtained 8 hours of customer service training, and Lieutenants and Sergeants received 4 hours.
- Hosted 15+ Community Action Group (CAG) meetings since August 2019 on various law enforcement issues.
- Established an ordinance for a Community Police Review Office and Review Board in October 2020 and hired a Director in 2023.
“We are excited to share our 21CP progress report that we’ve been working extraordinarily hard to reach this point, while still trying to maintain day to day patrols, investigations, and operations,” said South Bend Police Department Chief Scott Ruszkowski. “Some of the 21CP recommendations are and will continue to be dynamic and changing, evolving toward better or best ways to be an even greater asset and service to our community.”
South Bend is among 15 other public agencies and companies around the country who have implemented 21CP recommendations.
To view the full presentation outlining the updates please click here.
To view a detailed layout of the 21st Century Policing Practices in South Bend, please click here.