Epperson Responds to No-Confidence Vote

By: Max Seigle
By: Max Seigle

It all came down in this room Friday night. And on these ballots, where this "X" was one of 276 votes of no-confidence in Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson. "This is not about his programs he's implemented, the contract, it's purely about the way he's treating his employees," said Bruce Brannum, Vice President of the police union. The union's main beef centers around Epperson allegedly deviating from past practices on discipline matters. And the rank and file not given adequate say in department decisions. "We would like to be a part of the decision process, if we are apart of this, we'll eliminate alot of the grievances that our outstanding," Brannum said. "I'm not discouraged, but I don't want to give the impression that this is a cavalier attitude like i'm rubbing it off." Epperson says he'll bend on matters like giving officers more input. "I think moving forward has to do with different communication, some inclusion," Epperson said. But resolving officer disciplinary issues, could be harder. "My hands are not going to be tied to our past practices of discipline, how the predecessors did things," Epperson said. The chief says integrity is guiding his discipline actions...and he won't compromise that. But he'll sit down with the union because in the end he needs them on his side. "Labor and management must work together in order to be effective and efficient in serving the citizens of Rockford," Epperson said. Epperson says there is a meeting planned with the union president this Wednesday to begin hashing out a resolution. And he says those meetings will continue on a weekly basis. Officers say the recent vote will have no impact on their city patrols.

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