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Officer Features :: Black History Month

February 06, 2007 by Teri Lanning

Page 2 of 4

In observance of Black History Month we will take a look at some featured SBPD officers and thier functions at the South Bend Police Department!

Lieutenant Mattie Taylor

Sworn in- 1982
Recruitment Officer
ILEA (Indiana Law Enforcement Academy) Certified Instructor
Cadet Coordinator
Internship Coordinator
Explorer Program Coordinator
Training Division /Community Relations Division

"I never really thought about being a Police Officer until my ex-husband talked me into it. We were both in school at IUSB and he thought I would make a great officer. I liked working in the community...I like people...I like working with kids; so this would be the perfect job."

Lt. Mattie Taylor smiles when she recalls making that decision. She said she never really made up her mind until she was in the police academy two weeks. Lt. Taylor stated, "I finally realized this was the place for me…a career where I could reach others and possibly make a difference. I can still say after 24 years, I still enjoy being a police officer." She recalled, "My most rewarding moments came when I was a DARE Officer in the schools. Just having a positive impact on so many kids did my heart proud. DARE was more than just teaching kids to resist drugs. DARE taught life skills."

She laughed and added, "To this day, I run into former DARE students of mine who will still run up to me and give me a hug and say thanks (no matter how cool they are when walking through the mall)!"

"Another great time was being allowed by the department to become part of the International Security Police Team at the 1996 Olympics. I was there for approximately six weeks. I had a chance to work with police officers from all over the world. I have maintained relationships with some of those officers. It's not unusual to receive email from Australia or Germany or France. I think that is so cool! One officer from Canada and another from Mexico attended my wedding. I will forever be grateful for that experience," shared Lt. Taylor.

She continued,"In this job I have had an opportunity to experience many things. Travel places I would have never gone. I worked on every uniform shift, dispatch center, front desk, narcotics bureau, detective bureau, the bike patrol, DARE, and now in training. With everything I have experienced in my career, it has made me a well-rounded person. I feel that I have made a difference in the community I serve." "There is a saying, 'Each One; Reach One.' I feel I have reached many."

SBPD Lieutenant Mattie Taylor

Civilian Donna Stevens

Joined in 1993
Secretary Investigative Division

"I thought this might be a great opportunity to work with people in need of help."

Service with a smile for the Detective Bureau is Donna Steven's demeanor that is much appreciated by police officers and the public alike. She said she first saw an ad in the newspaper for Front Desk Personnel for the South Bend Police Department, applied and was hired. And being that she was looking for an opportunity to help people, the goals of the police department "to protect and serve" are keeping her busy on a daily basis. Her days can span anywhere from answering questions on the phone, directing people to appointments with investigators to tracking 44 division officers' comings and goings.

But one of the most enjoyable aspects of many responsibilities is her work in the Pawn Shop Detail, assisting Investigator Scott Bryant and entering most of the Pawn Shop Data for tracking. She explained, "When I get a hit on a pawn item that had been stolen from a victim in a burglary or larceny it makes me feel all the time and effort I put into the pawn shop detail is worth it. I really enjoy this!"

Donna grinned and continued, "There are some really weird things that turn up teeth! It was scary to think about that; I asked Scott to look into it. I mean, would we be looking for bodies next? What was this person doing? Well, it ended up making sense when we found it was a retired dentist that explained more people than you might think never come get their teeth; and gold and silver fillings are quite valuable." Case solved-and it's on to the next.

NOTE: We have assembled an extensive display of the heritage of Black Police Officers in the history of the South Bend Police Department, which is on display in the main lobby of the central police station, at 701 W Sample St.

This exhibit will be featured through the month of February 2007. We invite you to stop by for more photos, exhibits and more!

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