South Bend Police hosting new academy

Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 5:25 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - A closer alternative to training police recruits will soon take place in Michiana.

At Wednesday’s quarterly public safety meeting, Mayor James Mueller joined city police officials in announcing the launch of the South Bend Police Academy.

“This is going to be one piece of the solution to how we expect to be fully staffed by the end of next year,” remarked Mueller.

The 17-week SBPD Academy allows the department to teach recruits in South Bend instead of sending them to academies in Hobart or Plainfield, respectively. The department will host its own academy for at least one round due to the amount of officers.

“The advantage is having our recruits remaining at home where they can remain with family instead of traveling back and forth. They can spend more time at home with their families,” said Patrol Division Chief Eric Crittendon.

Some training will take place at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Plainfield located three hours south of South Bend.

“Firearms qualification, emergency vehicle operations - those would all be testable categories that they would have to travel down state for. No different than they would do if they were down there,” explained South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski.

SBPD had to form its own police academy during the pandemic shutdown when recruits were unable to attend ILEA in Plainfield.

“That was the first time we did an academy here because we knew we needed officers. if there are no slots to - even if we have recruits, there are no slots to get them trained. That puts us back quite a ways,” Mueller added.

The South Bend Police Academy begins October 31st.

Current crime stats

On Wednesday, department officials outlined the latest crime statistics for the city.

Year-to-date 2022 has fewer gun violence incidents than this time last year. But this year has four more shooting victims compared to the same point in 2021.

Non-deadly and group member-involved shootings comprise the biggest proportion of shootings over this period.

Additionally, since taking over all suspicious death and homicide investigations in October 2021, SBPD has almost an 80 percent solvability rate.

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