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Mayor, police chief give update on investigation into Elkhart Police Department

Surveillance video shows Elkhart officers beating a handcuffed suspect.

An independent assessment of the Elkhart Police Department is one step closer to becoming a reality.

At a morning news conference, we learned more about a third-party investigation into the city of Elkhart's police force.

Watch a recording of the news conference here:

Mayor Tim Neese confirmed Monday that a former U.S. Assistant Attorney General will be in charge of the investigation.

The cost still has to be approved by the common council.

The review will cost almost $147,000.

Mayor Neese said he’s pitching the idea to the council Monday evening, and if the funding is approved he wants the assessment to begin as soon as possible.

Neese introducing Deborah Daniels as his choice to lead an assessment of the Elkhart Police Department.

“I want to emphasize. This is about reaffirming the credibility of the Elkhart Police Department. And looking at procedures that may or may not need to be adjusted,” said Neese.

The department came under scrutiny after a video was released showing two officers punching a handcuffed man.

Something the city wants to prevent in the future.

“Use of force is not always a bad thing. It is something that is necessary and is often required by Elkhart police officers. We just want to be certain that it’s being utilized in an appropriate fashion,” said Neese.

Daniels and her team will interview people in the community, look into complaints against the department, and review use of force documents.

“You will see us in the community. And we will be working throughout the course of the project providing ongoing feedback to the police and to the mayor.” said Daniels, attorney with Krieg DeVault LLP.

Chief Chris Snyder says they appreciate the opportunity to see which areas still need improvement and wants the department to continue to gain the respect of the citizens of Elkhart.

“The most important thing is to make sure that when we operate day-to-day, we’re doing it correct,” said Snyder. “Ultimately, we are here to best serve our community. So if we can do things better than what we’re doing now, to better protect our community. That’s what we want to do.”

Daniels says she hopes at the end of her evaluation the police department will be strengthened and she hopes the community's faith in the department will be renewed.

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