South Bend police officers are warning of a mass exodus amid Mayor Pete Buttigieg's handling of the shooting of Erik Logan, saying that morale is at an all-time low.
"I think you’re going to see a mass exodus, our administration is a joke," one officer told Fox News. Other officers described morale as being at an all-time low and saying the officers do "nothing" now. "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," one officer said.
Another officer said he expected as many as ten officers would quit in the next year. South Bend Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) president Harvey Mills said he's spoken to five or six officers who were considering leaving the force because of Buttigieg's response to the shooting.
Buttigieg has said that "all police work and all of American life takes place in the shadow of racism," and officers say Buttigieg has had little interaction with them. The FOP blasted Buttigieg for sending them pizzas, saying in a statement, "Last week, while Mayor Buttigieg continued to run a presidential campaign in which he often falsely implies that South Bend police officers are racist, he refused to apologize. Instead, he sent us pizza."
Officers also said that Buttigieg does not attend the annual memorial services for fallen officers, and warned that alongside the possible departures of current officers the department would have a hard time recruiting new officers. "When you see the politics and the way police officers are treated by the media and by politicians, it's like, why would anyone want to sign up to do this job right now?" an officer said.
Several South Bend community activists and former city government members have called on Buttigieg to resign, including former South Bend Common Council president Derek Dieter, who said that Buttigieg should have resigned once he decided to run for president. "Because of Pete's selfishness, in my opinion, he is still the mayor," Dieter said.