(SOUTH BEND) – City leaders in South Bend are trying to get more people to join the city’s police force.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg says it’s part of his effort to recruit a more diverse police force that better reflects the community it serves. Buttigieg acknowledges that people may be a bit hesitant to join up with South Bend police given the recent news headlines about a white policeofficer shooting a black man.
“My message to the community is if you care about the future of the department, if you care about the diversity of the department, become a recruiter,” he said. “Help find people.”
Buttigieg said in a press conference Thursday that the issue isn’t a lack of people trying to apply, but that those who are applying are starting applications and not finishing the process. The deadline to apply to be a part of the next class of police officers in South Bend is August 12th.
“We may extend the deadline in order to make sure that we get a lot of applications to choose from that reflect a range of voices in the community,” he added. “16-percent of our applicants so far have identified as African-American. 12-percent have identified as Latino.”
Buttigieg said those percentages are greater than what the current demographic make up of the department is right now, which he said is a step in the right direction. But he added those numbers are still less than the make up of the whole community.