City of South Bend prepares to search for new director of Community Police Review Board
South Bend Mayor James Mueller says he wants the next director of the Community Police Review Board to have the support of the Common Council. Councilmember Henry Davis, Jr. says the public will need more input than they had in the Reynolds hiring, before he supports a candidate.
The man chosen by City Clerk Dawn Jones to be responsible for the office looking into complaints against South Bend Police, Josh Reynolds, is no longer a city employee.
ABC57 was the first to report Reynolds quietly resigned, effective August 20, according to a city spokesperson. According to the Change of Status form ABC57 obtained through a public records request, Reynolds received his final paycheck September 3.
Since the public learned about his history of suspensions as an officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Mayor James Mueller, South Bend Common Council, and Fraternal Order of Police have called for Reynolds' resignation or firing. On August 9, the common council gave control of the review board to the Office of the Mayor, with control going back to the City Clerk's Office after Dawn Jones' term expires.
"It's already impacted the way people look at [the review board]. But again, we have to go back to the drawing board. We have to re-engage the public. And we have to ask questions of this new candidate, and also get members of the public to do the same,” Common Councilmember Henry Davis, Jr. said.
Davis wants the next hiring process to include more public input, focus on candidates with no law enforcement experience, and see the Common Council play an active role in scrutinizing the independence of the review board while under the Mayor’s control.
“If we don't do those things, obviously, we're going to lose all the trust of the public. So we're on the hot seat,” Davis said.
A procedural vote scheduled this Monday will move the position's salary under the Office of the Mayor, helping restart the hiring process for a new director.
“I look forward to partnering with Common Council to move this review board forward and build greater trust in the community,” Mayor James Mueller said in a statement. “I remain committed to following the recommendation of the Common Council on the selection of the new director. The Common Council and I will share more details on the selection process soon.”
According to the City of South Bend Legal Department, Reynolds never submitted a written resignation. Reynolds’ Change of Status form provided by the city does not list a reason for his termination, even though “resignation” is an option.