South Bend Mayor selects new Community Police Review Board director

Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 11:47 AM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - South Bend Mayor James Mueller has selected Pastor Charles L. King III to be the new director of the South Bend Community Police Review Board.

The position has been vacant since Joshua Reynolds resigned in August 2021 after documents showed he was suspended at least six times as an officer with the Indianapolis Police Department. The City of South Bend says more than 50 people applied for the position.

King, a South Bend native, graduated from LaSalle High School and attended IU South Bend for two years. He accepted his call to ministry in 1996, which he has served for over two decades.

Pastor Charles King III is not a stranger to South Bend, and he’s also not a person with law enforcement experience. Two key differences between him and his predecessor, Reynolds.

Reynolds, an Indianapolis native and 14-year veteran of the police department there, resigned from the position after just three months in the role.

The South Bend Common Council took control of the selection process following the failed hire by the City Clerk, which gave Mayor Mueller a lot more confidence in their current choice.

“It was most important as we saw from before to get the right person. I know there’s been a lot of frustration with how long it’s taken, but the most critical thing is getting the right person for the role and we have the right person for the role here in Charles King. There was not agreement universally that we found the right person before,” Mueller said.

Mueller says King brings ‘the heart of a public servant’ to the office, which is reflected through his work with several community non-profits including the YMCA of Greater Michiana, where he served as branch director, 100 Black Men of Greater Michiana, Men’s Talk, where he serves as the board vice president, Camp Ray Bird, where he sits as a board member, and even his own program to promote fishing in urban areas called “Fish 4 Life.”

Pastor Charles L. King III
Pastor Charles L. King III(WNDU)

Law enforcement experience didn’t seem to be a big factor for the common council members who voted him in, with the selection team passing over two candidates with strong police ties, in favor of King and the other finalist Stephanie Ball who are lacking in this department.

King says he’s in a better position to represent South Bend residents because of it.

“I’ll be looking at this from a citizen’s standpoint. As well with the training they’re going to give me, I’ll have a lens through the police too,” he said.

King set out some of the main goals he hopes to achieve when he officially gets started on May 15th.

“I’d love to humanize the police department a little more, engaging some of the little people in our community as well as adults, and making sure we have that pathway to have open communication between the police and the community,” he said.

King will investigate police misconduct and the board will review complaints filed against officers to help create more transparency.

King’s role becomes effective starting on May 15.

King is just the first piece in assembling the actual community police review board. The next steps will be to fill the rest of the 9-member board. Each common council member will get to nominate one person, who will then need to be approved by the full council.

Pastor Charles L. King III
Pastor Charles L. King III(South Bend Tribune)

Press Release from the City of South Bend:

Today, Mayor James Mueller announced the selection of the new South Bend Community Police Review Office Director, Pastor Charles L. King III.

“Pastor Charles King III is the right person to establish and lead our Community Police Review Office,” said Mayor James Mueller. “He brings the heart of a public servant, the passion for engaging residents, and deep roots in our community. I look forward to working with him to build on our City’s progress and deepen relationships with our community.”

Pastor King is a native of South Bend. He graduated from LaSalle High School and attended IUSB for two years and accepted his call to ministry in 1996, which he has served for over two decades. He is happily married to Beverley King and is a proud father to two children, Dinari and Charles IV.

“I look forward to this opportunity to serve the community as Director of the Community Review Office and am eager to start my tenure by strengthening cooperative relationships between the community and SBPD,” said Director of the Community Police Review Office, Charles King III. “I embrace the seriousness of this role and the potential to influence policing by engaging the community. This is a new role for our city, and I look forward to hearing from residents about how this office can serve effectively.”

Aside from being a Pastor, King was a Sales Manager at the Century Center Convention Center and was most recently the Branch Director and Director of Community and Urban Youth Services at the YMCA of Greater Michiana. He is currently a member of the 100 Black Men of Greater Michiana, Men’s Talk, serving as the VP of the Board, a Board Member for Camp Ray Bird, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and is the conference host and speaker for Unified- A Gathering of God’s People. King also has an inner-city fishing program called “Fish-4-Life,” where he takes kids fishing and teaches them the importance of patience and timing. King is a community servant and influences his region by promoting hard work, unity, and love.

In 2020, an ordinance was passed by the common council to create a Community Police Review Board. In 2021, the original ordinance was amended, allowing four councilors to recommend up to three candidates to the mayor for selection and hiring. There were over 50 applicants who applied for this position.

“The hiring of Charles King III as the Director of the Community Police Review Board represents a major step in implementing the review board in our City,” said Council President Sharon McBride. “The search was long and arduous, but necessary to be sure that the right person was offered the position. After many interviews and a public forum, it became clear that what the community wanted and what the review board needed was someone who could restore trust and build relationships within the community. Mr. King’s prior experiences and his responses during the interview process demonstrate that he has these qualities.”

The purpose and intention for the review office is to enhance trust between our community and the South Bend Police Department by encouraging residents to take part in the process to provide additional perspectives to safely, fairly, impartially, and timely conduct investigations of all alleged police misconduct, to reach independent determinations, and make recommendations based on the evidence gained through those investigations. Additionally, the office will work to identify and address patterns of alleged police misconduct and make policy recommendations based on investigation information to improve the police department and reduce incidents of alleged police misconduct.

King’s role becomes effective starting on May 15.

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