Indiana State Police launch investigation against South Bend Fire Department
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. – Indiana State Police have confirmed that they are launching a formal investigation against the South Bend Fire Department for allegations of a hidden camera installed inside a women’s locker room at the SBFD headquarters.
“We received a complaint that we are taking very seriously. It is under the investigation of the Indiana State Police by the authority of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and is in their hands. The well-being and safety of our personnel is our top priority first and foremost,” South Bend Fire Chief Carl Buchanon said in an email.
This comes after the discovery of the camera on June 1, which sparked a formal criminal investigation by Indiana State Police, who were called in by the St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter’s Office.
Some firefighters are now questioning if they could potentially be in danger.
Buchanon sent out an email stating: “All I can say in this point of time is that staying safe is a daily message of general context, and the department is not being threatened by anyone I know of, but with what is going on across the country, we are asking everyone to do their jobs and always treat everyone with respect and dignity.”
This email comes three months after 12 women with SBFD came forward to Buchanon outlining allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and a fire captain allegedly verbally abusing and even hitting one woman in a letter.
The women say that the department failed them because SBFD gave the captain one day of unpaid time off. They call this punishment a “slap on the wrist.”