South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg will appoint Uniform Division Chief Scott Ruszkowski as the City of South Bend’s 62nd Chief of Police. Ruszkowski will take command on October 1, when current Police Chief Ronald Teachman will transition to a position in the private sector.
Chief Teachman notified Mayor Buttigieg that he will be leaving the City to become a director at SST, Inc., the parent company of ShotSpotter Gunshot Location System. His last day with the department is Wednesday, September 30. With over 35 years as a police officer, Teachman has served South Bend as Chief of Police since January 2013, guiding the department through major transitions and introducing innovative approaches to policing.
Mayor Buttigieg praised Teachman’s service to the department and City. “Chief Ron Teachman came to South Bend at a challenging time for the department and the City. He introduced new practices and established rigorous standards that will serve the department well for years to come. With his extraordinary work ethic and intellect, he worked to better use technology, deepen our commitment to community policing, address gun violence, and set a different tone for our force,” Mayor Buttigieg says. “Our community is better off because of his leadership.”
During his tenure, Teachman helped implement the Group Violence Intervention, addressing group and gang-related violence through targeted law enforcement, crime prevention, and social service efforts. He also established the South Bend regional Crime Analysis Network (CAN), which encourages collaboration between law enforcement officers, investigators, and other local stakeholders to share information to improve public safety.
Teachman instituted new policies and protocols for working with domestic violence victims, and was deeply involved in community causes including the YWCA and Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Joseph County.
“It has been an honor to lead the men and women of the South Bend Police Department, and to practice my craft as a police officer in this community for two and a half years,” Teachman says. “It has been rewarding to work with extraordinary people on the department and throughout the community to make this a safer place.”
Another of Teachman’s priorities for the department has been developing new leaders, including Ruszkowski, who he appointed as Uniform Division Chief in 2013. Serving at the department’s second-highest rank for nearly two years, Ruszkowski has been involved in every aspect of the department’s work and will build on progress made under Teachman.
Ruszkowski will enter the job with nearly 30 years of experience in service. He trained at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in 1989 and joined the South Bend Police Department later that year as a patrol officer. In 1992 he was promoted to corporal, then sergeant in 1999. In 2005, Ruszkowski was named lieutenant and commander of the Street Crimes unit, and captain, uniform patrol division in 2011. Since 2013, he has been the department’s top patrol officer as Uniform Division Chief.
“Scott Ruszkowski’s combination of professional experience and deep community ties make him an ideal leader for today’s South Bend Police Department,” Mayor Buttigieg says. “He has earned the respect of officers and residents, and has served ably in leadership roles throughout my first term. He will carry forward the progress our Police Department has made.”
Born and raised in South Bend, Ruszkowski graduated from the former LaSalle High School. He continues to be involved with South Bend Community Schools, and sits on the South Bend Kroc Center Advisory Board.
“It is an honor to serve with my fellow officers and I’m proud to have the opportunity to lead such a talented and dedicated force,” Ruszkowski says. “Chief Teachman has brought this department forward, and I will strive to build on the progress we have made under his leadership. On my watch, the department will continue to strive for the highest standards of integrity, professionalism, effectiveness, and service.”
Ruszkowski served as president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #36 and on the board of directors of the Indiana F.O.P. Foundation. He also co-founded the South Bend Police Department’s Critical Incident Team, which prepares for and responds to incidents at the unit level.
Ruszkowski was also appointed to attend the FBI National Academy at the University of Virginia in 2006. He also served as an Active Duty and Reserve Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy.