Recently the city of South Bend announced that recruitment efforts to diversify the South Bend Police Department have resulted in 270 applicants to join the city police department, according to a local ABC affiliate.
The recruitment effort follows a fatal officer involved shooting that occurred in June. Responding to community concerns states at the time, Mayor Pete Buttigieg indicated that increasing police department diversity is critical to improving race relations in the city.
There were 242 sworn officers, according to the story. The department’s current racial breakdown is:
- 88 percent white
- 5.4 percent black
- 4.9 percent Hispanic
For the 270 police recruit applicants, the breakdown by race is:
- 40 percent white
- 16 percent black,
- 12 percent Latino or Hispanic
- 25 percent did not identify
“We’re making sure the entire community is aware of the urgency of building the department,” said Buttigieg. He and South Bend Chief of Police Scott Ruszkowski asked the community to act as recruiters for the police department.
The South Bend Fraternal Order of Police representative said morale was low because the department is understaffed and officers are underpaid. Collective bargaining by the police union is scheduled next year.
“Adding pay would help,” he said. “We’ve really got to find a way to stand out,” said FOP #36 President Harvey Mills.
Applications were accepted through August 12, 2019.
Editor’s Note: August 16, 2019. According to a city spokesperson, South Bend received 148 qualified applications.
Explore our previous coverage of the South Bend OIS:
Learn more about police recruitment: