Concerns Over Rockford's Sex Crimes Unit

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

More controversy among Rockford police. Union leaders say shortstaffing in the sex crimes unit is leaving sex offenders unpunished and the union's two head men could be in trouble with the chief.
In an e-mail sent to Chief Chet Epperson and media outlets Tuesday night, union president Aurelio DeLaRosa says detectives in the sex crimes unit are overwhelmed with cases due to short staffing. DeLaRosa says he knows of one detective who is forty reports behind and that Rockford's Carrie Lynn Center for child victims of sexual abuse is backed up until June waiting for detectives to handle their cases. Carrie Lynn's director declined to comment.
Epperson says he cannot speak to another entity's operations, but he believes the sex crimes unit is operating efficiently and has enough officers.
"Instead of adding more officers right now or adding more detectives, we're looking to see what are we doing? What measurements and things are we doing inside the organization?" says Chief Epperson.
Union leaders call this another example of short-staffing in the entire department. DeLaRosa and vice president Bruce Brannum could now be in hot water for distributing a document to Rockford aldermen regarding manpower.
Union leaders say the study by Northwestern University shows due to low staffing, Rockford officers do not have enough time to engage in community policing. But Chief Epperson says the report is an internal document that is still in draft format.
"The study was released prior to my review of it with the person who put it together," says Epperson.
DeLaRosa counters, "Three supervisors were communicated with and all three advised us that that was not confidential information. It had a start date and an end date and it had been finished."
Also in the e-mail, DeLaRosa says Epperson's priorities are wrong because he is considering adding more officers to the traffic division instead of the sex crimes unit.
Finally, DeLaRosa says officers assigned to check for speeders Tuesday were told not to respond to an armed robbery in their area. Epperson denies that, adding any officer who did not respond to a call for help would be derelict of duty and subject to punishment.
Epperson is holding focus groups with officers to talk through their concerns. He says he wants the union to restart negotiations with him. Union leaders canceled a meeting set for Wednesday because of the internal document debate.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by barbara Location: Rckford on Nov 9, 2007 at 08:10 PM
    YES! More traffic cops! Out on the street so someone can get there sooner, when there's a call, for sex crimes or ANY crime. Speed! We need more cops.
  • by Anonymous Location: Belvidere, Illinois on Nov 8, 2007 at 08:04 PM
    I work for a local sheriff's office near Rockford. One thing I have observed is that managers in law enforcement are often thrust or elected into management positions while having distorted management skills and no people skills. I could tell you stories about my department that would make your head spin. Many of these managers are promoted due to either time in-service and/or for being what I termed a “yes men” to their sheriff or chief. Rockford is no exception to this. Also, as with my department, sheriffs and chiefs are very secretive with happenings within the department to the point that if the public knew what was occurring or how management treats their officers, the public would be outraged. And, if you attempt to speak up for yourself, you will be retaliated against. The retaliation might not be right then, but down the road they will get you. I see this happening in Rockford, and it has happened to me and to many others at my department. I stand with the Rockford of
  • by KATE Location: ROCKFORD on Nov 8, 2007 at 11:38 AM
    WHEN ARE YOU PEOPLE GOING TO WAKE UP. WHY DON'T YOU ASK THE POLICE OFFICERS WHAT IS GOING ON IN THESE MEETINGS. EPPERSON WILL TELL YOU WHAT HE WANTS YOU TO KNOW.NOT WHAT REALLY GOES ON. I AM APPALLED AT THE WAY THE NEWS REPORTERS ARE HANDLING THIS SITUATION.IT CERTAINLY IS NOT INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING.WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? ANSWERS PLEASE.
  • by Jan on Nov 8, 2007 at 09:28 AM
    When are they going to stop acting like children and get this thing to the table and talk about it ,stop being so silly.
  • by Disgusted citizen Location: Rockford on Nov 8, 2007 at 04:31 AM
    Is this city and this sorry excuse of a mayor ever going to wake up and see what Epperson is doing? I am so sick and tired of hearing stories, almost nightly, about how unqualified this idiot is! What does he mean when he says instead of adding officers we are going to see what we are doing? What? That doesnt even make sense. He might as well be telling us that crime is up but instead of addressing that crime we are going to think about it some more. What a moron! I've just had it. Major crimes are up, armed robberies are at an all time high, children are getting brutalized and molested on a daily basis and this guy wants to focus on traffic tickets? Is he serious? How can generating a few extra dollars be more important than protecting our children, our elderly or anyone who cannot protect themselves? And to think we are paying this guys salary?? For what? He has caused nothing but problems since he became chief. Somoene should start a petition to have him removed before it's too late
  • by ashley Location: rockford on Nov 8, 2007 at 04:05 AM
    to say that there is enough detectives for the unit is so worng there cant be enough there are 100's of children being sexually abused and not enough police to handle it i think they need to add more i belive it would cut the sexual crime in half
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