SOUTH BEND (Network Indiana) — Morale is low for may police officers across the United States as protests and demands for police reform have been more apparent.
An anonymous survey passed around to all 220 police officers in South Bend illustrated that fact when 80-percent of the officers who responded said that in the last month they have considered quitting their job with the South Bend Police Department.
“I knew we had a lot of officers who thought morale was bad or had considered leaving,” said South Bend FOP President Harvey Mills. “It’s just very hard to do your job every day when you come in and you’re screamed at.”
40-percent of the officers said morale within the department is “as bad as it’s ever been.” Only 3-percent says morale was “good.” The survey sheds light on police officers’ perspective of things after the South Bend Common Council recently tabled a proposed pay raise for police officers.
It was a bill supported by Mayor James Mueller, but in light of recent protests and demands for police to be defunded in South Bend city leaders decided not to go any further with pay raises for police right now. The Common Council has reiterated that though they are not giving pay raises to police officers they are not defunding the department either.
Now, it’s about finding a way forward, says Mills.
“A lot of community conversations need to come out of this,” Mills said. ” The FOP is ready and willing. That’s the way forward. Not just the police department doing something but the community working together to come up with a solution.”
Mayor Mueller is mirroring those sentiments.
One of the ways he says South Bend leaders and police have come together is in formulating new use of force rules for officers by banning the use of chokeholds and coming up with a “discipline matrix” which will help the city be more consist with how it holds police officers accountable.