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BY: Nic Rowan
It was the winter of 2012, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg was having trouble with his police department.
Office - Mayor - South - Bend - Ind
When he took office as the youngest-ever mayor of South Bend, Ind., at the beginning of the year, Buttigieg vowed to transform the rust belt city with "data-driven decision making." But so far, his biggest splash has been a racially charged battle over his firing of the popular black police chief Darryl Boykins. That scandal, coupled with an ongoing gun violence plague, led Buttigieg to decide he needed to search outside South Bend for a chief to permanently replace Boykins and "modernize the police department."
Buttigieg reviewed more than 60 candidates before he found his man: Ron Teachman, former police chief of New Bedford, Mass., who had most recently worked as a law-enforcement consultant in Tajikistan. Teachman had never visited South Bend before his interview with Buttigieg, but the mayor was confident the 58-year-old’s 34 years of service would encourage the SBPD to recover from the ongoing turmoil. He praised Teachman’s long résumé, saying that his leadership would "cultivate the next generation of leaders to rise through the ranks," according to the South Bend Tribune.
Teachman - Baggage - Time - New - Bedford
But Teachman came with some baggage. During his time in New Bedford, he had frequently clashed with the city council over matters of transparency and—by his own admission—had a tendency to become "authoritarian" if anyone attempted to interfere with his will.
"Some points you don’t move off of," he told the Tribune. "You may not satisfy everyone’s concerns."
Members - South - Bend - Common - Council
Some members of South Bend’s Common Council expressed concerns about Teachman’s past, especially his decision to lay off 31 officers from New Bedford’s force of about 300 amid budget cuts. Common Council president Derek Dieter asked that the body be allowed to review Teachman’s application. Buttigieg refused.
"There’s no doubt in my mind...
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