South Bend Police Dept. adds 9 new officers

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 6:32 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The City of South Bend’s police force is seeing a pay-off in recruiting efforts after nine hires were sworn in at a Wednesday morning ceremony.

“I think that our new package was very lucrative,” said Capt. Kathy Fulnecky with SBPD’s Training and Recruitment Division.

Fulnecky explained the hiring package includes higher salaries beginning in 2023; personal days; sick days; and being paid “double time” for officers who work overtime.

Recently sworn-in Officer Caleb Waits convinced his older brother, now-Officer Travis Waits (who was honored Wednesday), to join the department.

“I kept reaching out to my brother telling him, you know, ‘Hey, man, now’s the time to join, you know, it’s a great opportunity. The pay is great, it’s a great opportunity to get to work for the community,’” recalled the younger Waits.

Office Travis Waits studied criminal justice in college and saw police work as a natural career path.

“Something I wanted to do, and I thought now was a good time for me to join,” he said. “It feels great to accomplish [graduating from the police academy]. Just getting ready to, to work here.”

“Prospect Days” expedites hiring process

Capt. Fulnecky credited the addition of “Prospect Days” for increasing the department’s staffing numbers.

Instead of having applicants take physical and written tests on separate days, SBPD began allowing potential hires to complete their testing in a single day.

“So this way, if the applicant is from out of town, they don’t have to make five or six trips. They only make maybe two or three, getting them through the hiring process quicker, and maybe six to eight weeks as opposed to six months, equals more officers on the street,” she said.

On Wednesday, South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski said it is believed there have been 49 new hires as of this year.

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