SBPD moving officers away from Metro Homicide, Special Victims units

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 7:33 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - It’s a new measure of how serious the manpower shortage is on the South Bend Police Department.

Two crack-criminal investigative teams will disband by the end of the year because South Bend officials have served notice that they will no longer assign officers to work those units.

“Each and every officer is going to be critical for us going into 2022,” said Mayor James Mueller, (D) South Bend.

The multi-jurisdictional County Metro Homicide Unit was formed in 1993 with officers from the Mishawaka, St. Joseph County, and South Bend city Police departments.

At the time, South Bend had about 260-officers on the force. Today that number has dwindled to 220.

That’s not only 23 officers under the budgeted amount but one third of those now working are now eligible to retire.

“We absolutely need bodies on the street,” the mayor said. “We have close to 100,000 calls for service every year and when a resident calls for help, we’ve got to answer.”

A total of eight South Bend officers now work the homicide unit and a Special Victims Unit that concentrates on cases of domestic and sexual violence.

The mayor says the city’s first obligation is to meet its legal requirement to have a minimum of 18-officers on patrol each and every shift.

“We’re obligated to hit it, said Mueller, “so, you know, we’re, if we fall below, we’ll have to go to mandatory overtime to hit it.”

St. Joseph County Prosecutor Kenneth Cotter said he was saddened by the situation but added, “It is untenable and unsustainable for the officers who do the work in those units, to do it without adequate manpower.”

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