Mission and History

Vision History  |  In Memoriam

Mission

"The South Bend Police Department, in community partnership, will strive to protect the life, property, and personal liberties of all individuals.  We believe that the overall quality of life for all persons will improve through the deterrence of criminal activity, and understanding the diversity of cultures within our community.  Therefore, we pledge to deliver fair, impartial, and legitimate law enforcement service to all: Dignity/Respect/Fairness."

Chief of Police Scott Ruszkowski


Vision

To constantly strive for excellence in the quality of police service to help ensure a safe community for everyone.


History

The South Bend Police Department boasts a rich history that traces the growth and development of the city itself. Below is a timeline of department milestones.

  • Original department founded with two constables – 1831
  • Constables replaced with a marshal – 1844
  • Officially named the South Bend Police Department – 1903
  • Motor-driven vehicles introduced – 1910
  • Women officers instated – 1914
  • Records division began – 1939
  • Crime lab began – 1943
  • Use of radar instated – 1951
  • K-9 corps established – 1961
  • School-liaison program established – 1970
  • Mobile crime lab established – 1973
  • All-time high of 264 officers – 1974
  • Personal body armor for officers purchased – 1977
  • Community orientated policing program established – 1981
  • City jail closed - 1984
  • Police bicycle patrols began – 1990
  • School resource officer program established – 1997

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In Memoriam

In honor and memory of the members of the South Bend Police Department who have died in the line of duty, we remember and salute the officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duties. Their courage and service to the South Bend Police Department will never be forgotten.

Officer Name Cause of Death Incident Date
Nick Samuel Polizzotto Gunfire 04/24/2007
Scott Lee Severns Gunfire 04/21/2006
Paul Richard Deguch Gunfire 08/24/1997
Thomas J. DeRue, Sr. Gunfire 11/14/1974
Ronald S. St. Germain, Sr. Motorcycle Accident 08/19/1967
Howard C. Wagner Gunfire 06/30/1934
Delbert Thompson Gunfire 05/27/1933
Charles E. Farkas, Sr. Gunfire 05/27/1933
Lloyd L. Thompson Vehicle Pursuit 02/26/1932
Neil McIntyre Motorcycle Accident 12/25/1923
Fred E. Buhland Gunfire 01/10/1921
Hans B. Brandt Gunfire 05/22/1916
Lewis Keller Gunfire 02/22/1908
Samuel Cooper Gunfire 10/21/1900
Oscar Christensen Gunfire (Accidental) 05/11/1886

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