Photo of Mattie Taylor
Mattie Taylor


“God Tips Your Scales Sometimes.”

Captain Mattie Taylor never dreamed while a little girl growing up on the near West side that not only would she one day become a South Bend police officer, but also that God would tip her scales to be the first African American woman promoted to the rank of Captain.

While attending Indiana University South Bend, Mattie attended a talk given by a South Bend Police Department recruiter and thought being a police officer sounded interesting; however, she only applied for a position after her ex-husband “double dog dared” her to join. Since accepting the dare, Mattie has served in a number of positions within the department, including working undercover in Metro Special Operations, serving in the first group of bike patrol officers, and working as a DARE officer, what she calls, “one of the best damn jobs I ever had.”

In 1996 when the Olympics were in Atlanta, Mattie became a member of the first ever International Police Force Security Team for the Olympics, joining officers from across the country and around the world, many of whom Mattie still proudly calls friends today. Throughout her career Mattie has served in many different positions within the department and has been guided by the belief that every day, “You gotta laugh.”

As she nears retirement, Mattie is leaving an infrastructure to “set these young folks up so it will be better when I leave.”

  • First South Bend Police Department African American Police Captain
  • Member of the first South Bend Police Department bike patrol unit
  • Member of the first Olympics International Police Force Security Team
  • DARE Officer
  • Metro Special Operations Officer
  • Crime Prevention Officer
  • Field Training Officer

Information compiled from oral history collected as part of the Michiana Women Leaders Project