Teachman named new South Bend Police Chief

For the first time since 1939, an out-of-towner will lead the South Bend Police Department.

Ronald Teachman was today picked as the next police chief.

Teachman has spent most of his career in New Bedford, Massachusetts—but that’s not where his ‘last’ job was.

Teachman returned to the United States in October, after spending 18 months as a law enforcement consultant in Tajikistan, in Central Asia
While Ronald Teachman is an out-of-towner, that doesn’t mean he’s coming to South Bend, ‘out of left field.’

“I’m not comfortable terribly with self-promotion but I do think 34 plus years of working in a city very similar (New Bedford) to South Bend in terms of population, in diversity, and the crime problems that both cities share; although they're 900 some miles apart there are many similarities,” Teachman said in a phone interview with News Center 16.

Teachman spent 34 years with the police department in New Bedford--four and a half of those years as chief.

On one hand, Teachman says one of his goals is to make sure the next South Bend police chief does come from within. Teachman wants to establish better leadership incentives for younger officers.

On the other hand, Teachman could offer no guarantees that his division chiefs would come from within the current ranks of the South Bend Police Department. “I can’t speak to that, but I do know that there's a significant price to morale, when an outside chief is brought in and you compound that when you bring in subordinate staff, so I’m cautious about doing that. I'll keep an open mind until I have a chance to see, to use a sports metaphor; until I see how deep the bullpen is, see how deep the bench is, what I’ve seen so far is encouraging.”

FOP Lodge 36 President Steve Noonan today said Teachman would likely be the “most educated” chief the South Bend Police Department had ever seen. Teachman has two bachelor’s degrees and a law degree.

“It’s not every day that you have a police chief come along with a law degree,” said South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “That said, you know, education is only one piece of what I’m looking for when it comes to leadership. I'm also looking for integrity, I’m looking for compatibility, and understanding with the vision that this administration has for the city.”

Mayor Buttigieg says that Teachman will be a high profile police chief who will engage the community crime fighting efforts. “The work of a police chief cannot be done just walking the halls of the police department, or certainly behind a desk, it takes somebody who is willing to very proactively reach out across the community, and that was one of the things I was looking for and one of the things that Ron demonstrated in the interview process.”

Mayor Buttigieg wanted to wrap up the search by the end of the year, and today made his choice known by phoning it in. Buttigieg held a conference call with the media while in Arizona attending a wedding.

Teachman will be paid a salary of $90,000. That’s about $10,000 more than the last permanent police chief.

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