All three councils vote to continue the Special Victims Unit
SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The Special Victims Unit will continue this year here in South Bend --- thanks to an agreement between local law enforcement agencies.
The agreement which was already approved by the Mishawaka and South Bend Common Councils was made official Tuesday evening by the St. Joseph County Council.
While the vote confirms the unit will continue it will no longer investigate cases of domestic violence.
“It is smaller and it would also we would have a more formal coordination with the KC Center the YWCA and the Family Justice Center to ensure that we have our understanding as law enforcement officers, our understanding of the victims is taken into account on how we handle those cases," said Ken Cotter, St. Joseph County Prosecutor.
Despite being the smallest the unit has ever been, SVU will continue investigating crimes of child abuse and sex offenses.
Cotter says in order to properly handle each case there will be two police officers from the South Bend Police Department, one officer from both the county and the city of Mishawaka, and three investigators the city of South Bend would pay for.
The goal for the unit will continue to be victim focused — holding perpetrators accountable with the intention of growing in the future if staffing allows.
“Personally I’m hopeful we’ll be coming back to you in the near future and maybe we can get the manpower back up and frankly we can get the band back together again completely, but I’ll take a little bit versus not at all," said Cotter.
The council also passed salary budgets for several county departments this evening.