New Chief, Part 2

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Badges, bikes and bars, that's how many see the Police Department, but new Police Chief Chet Epperson wants to change that. He wants a department that works closely with its residents.

Epperson said, "We need their help by calling in crimes, forming neighborhood watch groups. We need them to attend various weed and seed programs. We need their help."

Epperson said in its simplest form community policing is just good solid problem solving, and while there are many ways to solve a problem, not all of them are good.

Epperson said, "So it's incumbent on the chief and all the other deputy chiefs to train, to assist to enhance those problem solving skills and make our department much better then we are today."

Epperson said before he designs his plan he wants input, and a lot of it.

"I believe I know what they want, but I want to know what they have to say," said Epperson.

His philosophy is to take care of the little things the litter, the loud stereo, and the graffiti, because if left unchecked it festers.

"It sends out the wrong message to the city and to the Police Department that hey were in charge the criminals are in charge and that's not good as police chief of police."

He said he's committed to all of Rockford, but he's going to start in the weed and seed areas.

"Some of the element comes from the outside. Some of the bad people come to that area and prey on the victims and make crime in that area."

And for a guy who wants to spend the next 10 years in the big office, he knows if the bad guys move in he'll be quickly moved out.

"I'm committed to this community. I've been here my whole life. If the city succeeds I succeed as a chief and person; we’re in this together,” Epperson said.