Dieter to seek at-large South Bend Common Council seat

HealthVehiclesMike StackPoliticsElections

The city’s common council president Tuesday announced he will file as an at-large candidate in this year’s elections.

Derek Dieter, a Democrat, has represented the city’s 1st District, covering the city’s northwest side, since 2004. He said he will seek the change to "at-large" because he wants to serve all city residents.

Democratic at-large incumbents Karen White and Al "Buddy" Kirsits have said they are leaning toward seeking re-election. They have until Friday to file their candidacy.

Democratic at-large incumbent Timothy Rouse has filed his candidacy for election to the council’s 4th District seat, covering the city’s northeast side. Incumbent 4th District member Ann Puzzello has decided against seeking another term.

Democrat Dustin Saunders, who has never held elected office, has filed for an at-large seat.

Dieter, a city police officer, said if elected he will ask the city’s next mayor to overhaul the police department’s take-home squad car policies. That would include requiring officers to live in the city limits in order to have a take-home car.

About 74 percent of the officers live outside the city, according to the department’s most recent records.

Dieter said he can understand why officers choose not to live in the city.

"After working an 8-, 10- or 15-hour shift, sometimes you want to get away from being a policeman," he said. "On your hours off you don’t want people seeing your squad car, knocking on your door and saying, ‘I have a problem with this or that.’ "

Still, he said he’d like to see more officers living in the city. He lives at 1829 Portage Ave.

"To me it makes more sense," he said. "If you’re a policeman, I think you’ll give more emphasis to the area around where you live."

Dieter’s decision leaves Andrew B. Jones as the only Democrat to have filed for the 1st District seat as of Monday. Mike Stack has filed for the seat as a Republican candidate.

Staff writer Jeff Parrott:
jparrott@sbtinfo.com
574-235-6320

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