Local Violent Crimes Task Force Makes More Arrests

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WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- Several gang members have been arrested by the Winnebago County Violent Crimes Task Force. More than 20 people were picked up for dozens of gun and drug charges within the organization's first six months.

"We're looking for drugs and weapons, people who are wanted on warrants. We're looking for people who are not licensed driving."

19 year old Kaitlynn Shlemon is in jail... For unlawful use of a weapon, thanks to members of the Winnebago County Violent Crimes Task Force, who arrested Shlemon and 22 other criminals since September.

"The most serious crimes are the shots being fired, people being shot, certainly the murders that occur," said Deputy Chief Dominic Iasparro.

The task force, made up of investigators from Rockford, Loves Park Police, The Winnebago County Sheriff's Department and Illinois State Police, says their highest priority is getting illegal guns off our streets.

Of the 23 arrests, 19 of the suspects are facing weapons violations. Nine charges are for drug possession, and 13 people were picked up on outstanding warrants.

"If we can't make a case against an individual involved in a shooting, because it's a gang crime where the witnesses may not be a credible witness or we can't put the case together, if we can get that person for possession of a weapon or selling narcotics, we're going to go after them," said Iasparro.

"A lot of times it's individuals."

Police say there's no particular hot spot for crime claiming officers are trying to target repeat offenders, rather than just locations.

"In Rockford we find it all over," said Lieutenant Pat Hoey with Rockford Police.

Detectives are also working closely with the State's Attorney's Office to send many of these criminals to prison and keep them off our streets.

Investigators say they're expecting more arrests as the weather warms up. They will increase the number of officers on patrols if necessary.

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