ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – Coming off the most violent year in decades, Rockford opens a new police station on the City’s east side.
It’s a new approach to keeping us safe. For years Rockford City Leaders have been pushing for an end to the Public Safety Building, placing smaller stations throughout Rockford.
On Wednesday, members of the media were able to get a tour of Rockford Police’s District Three Headquarters. The building was once a post office on South New Towne Drive but is now the most significant move to date to making geopolicing a reality.
The 33,000 square foot building has administration offices and offices for cops actually patrolling the east side. The space includes a training area, locker room, and meeting space. The District Three headquarters is right across the street from another new project, the Grove at Keith Creek, Rockford Housing Authority’s new 49-unit complex that will bring residents from the Fairgrounds Complex further east.
"I would hope and when I say hope, I'm hoping our neighbors appreciate this as much as we do. Our new neighbors coming whoever they may be and they find ward 14 as welcoming as any place in Rockford. I welcome them with open arms,” says Donald Bondic, President of the New Towne Condo Homeowner Association.
“It goes in part in pace with our philosophy. Being in bed with the community, being part of the community, and working with the community, and having a station house that’s embedded with the community and not just down town and one headquarters is not just symbolic but also functional,” says Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea.
Construction on District Three went very fast. Work just started in June, turning the former post office into the police headquarters. It is the first of the department’s three buildings that will open under the geopolicing model. The plan has been in the works for nearly a decade.
The new district building will have police operating out of it starting Monday, January 9. District Two is expected to open later in January in the old Turner School on Broadway. District One is under construction at West State and Avon and should be open by the end of the year.