SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) --- Inside a packed South Bend Police Department auditorium, cameras flashed and microphones claimed space on a podium for a swearing-in ceremony.
But the city's mayor took time to address the tension between law enforcement and the community following a recent deadly shooting that left a man dead.
On Sunday, Eric J. Logan, 54, of South Bend, died after he was shot by Sgt. Ryan O'Neill outside the Central High Apartments. O'Neill reportedly told investigators he did not have his body camera activated when Logan approached him with a knife.
"[I'm] extremely frustrated," Buttigieg said. "The whole purpose of body cameras is that when there is a difficult or a tense moment, we can either validate that an officer did the right thing or determine that an officer didn't. Even a body camera doesn't solve everything, but it's supposed to provide crucial evidence. It defeats the purpose of that system if it is not activated."
In 2017,, $1.5 million over five years was approved for South Bend police officers to be equipped with body cameras. The money also went toward 170 new squad car cameras.
During the ceremony, the mayor reiterated to the six newly sworn officers the immense responsibility that comes with their policing powers, ranging from making arrests to using lethal force.
He also said it's important not to downplay the historical impact of race as it relates to injustice inflicted by law enforcement, adding there is a burden that comes with wearing a police uniform.
But Buttigieg said the new officers are poised to make a difference in police-community relations.
"What I want you to remember is not just to be conscious of the heightened expectations that come with the burden but to realize that you are empowered with an enormous opportunity by your choice of career. You are part of a crisis in the relationship of officers to those they protect, which means you are the indispensable part of the solution," Buttigieg stated.
The mayor said he has not determined when he will return to the campaign trail for his Democratic presidential bid. He said he is spending Wednesday speaking with community leaders and continuing outreach with Logan's family.