The South Bend police department warned that it might see a “mass exodus” of officers due to the morale drop from the poor handling of a police-involved shooting by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-Ind.) and his administration.
In a report published by Fox News on Monday, several officers spoke out anonymously about the tanking morale of the police force in South Bend due to the poor handling of the shooting between former officer Sgt. Ryan O’Neill and Eric Logan, who is African-American.
The officers wished to remain anonymous due to fears of retaliation from the Buttigieg administration. They told Fox News that some officers are weighing retirement, if they are able to take it, or considering quitting the force altogether.
“Morale around here has been terrible. We do nothing,” a 20-year veteran officer of South Bend Police Department told Fox News. “We call ourselves firemen, we sit around in parking lots until we’re called and then we go to the call, because if you say or do something wrong, then you get hung.”
Another officer said that morale was hitting “an all-time low” and that it has been difficult to do their job.
“At an all-time low,” the officer said. “It’s been really demoralizing and hard to come to work lately.”
One officer warned that the South Bend police force would see a “mass exodus” of officers and called Buttigieg’s administration “a joke.”
“That’s the big discussion … is who’s staying and who’s going. I think you’re going to see a mass exodus; our administration is a joke,” the officer said.
The South Bend Fraternal Order of Police President Harvey Mills told Fox News that he had conversations with five or six officers who are “seriously” thinking about an exit from the department due to Buttigieg and his administration’s handling of the officer-involved shooting.
Another officer said that he has considered leaving the force and speculated that as many as 10 officers could depart within the next year.
“It’s very discouraging that something I’ve always wanted to do, that God called me to do, that I’m questioning that and wondering, thinking about not being a police officer strictly because of politics and things that are going on that are completely out of my control,” he said.
The “mass exodus” of officers could spell trouble for Buttigieg as he continues in the Democratic presidential primary race, where he is one of 24 Democrats running for the nomination.