Police community review board wants to restore public trust
SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- Building back community trust in South Bend police has been a festering battle for the last two years.
“Since the tragic death shooting of Eric Jack Logan on June 16, 2019, the common council has worked tirelessly to bring accountability and transparency and policing and healing to all and build community trust in police,” South Bend City Clerk Dawn Jones said.
The South Bend Common Council got to work last summer, with multiple public meetings, then re-writing the departments use of force policy and training procedures, and now another step forward.
“The need is more important now than ever before,” Jones said.
After dozens of interviews, the City Clerk hired the first ever director of community review office, Joshua Reynolds.
“I look forward to the challenges this position holds to build greater trust and transparency and safety for the citizens of the city,” Community Review Board Director Joshua Reynolds said.
However, this decision, is not sitting well with some community activists.
Black Lives Matter South Bend saying in a statement quote:
“On Tuesday, May 18, activists learned Clerk Dawn Jones had already filled the position. Despite knowing the “best practices,” there were no public hearings. Despite voicing her support for the community, there was no inclusion. This collaborative project designed to build trust between city officials and residents was reduced to a closed-door affair where all our concerns and suggestions were disregarded.”
Reynolds has 20 years of investigative experience, including 14 years as a law enforcement officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. His duties now as director of the new community review office, include investigating allegations of misconduct or excessive force against South Bend police, and improve communications and relationships between officers and residents. And listening to everyone's voices and concerns, is the first thing on his list of many tasks to accomplish in the new role.
“I believe allowing citizens to have a seat at the table will go a long way to improve trust and accountability,” Reynolds said. “That’s step one, coming out and listening to everyone in person and giving them a chance to talk to me directly and I want to hear their concerns. For those who can’t make it out, we will be building out a social media engagement platform to make sure there is access through that as well.”
While Reynolds is now the new director, he won’t be getting to work for another 2 weeks.
Black Lives Matter South Bend plans to hold a virtual meeting on June 1 to share their views on why they think the hiring needs to be reconsidered.