ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Equipment used in some of the city's most dangerous situations is long overdue to be replaced, a move that gets the green light from Rockford aldermen.
Rockford’s Police Department is on its way to getting a new SWAT team truck and trailer for the bomb squad. The current vehicles are converted ambulances from the Rockford Fire Department that date back to 1986 and 1988. Rockford’s Police Chief says the SWAT truck has actually broken down in the street. The money to pay for the new trucks is coming from drug busts over the last few years. On Monday, the Rockford City Council signed off on spending $253,485 on the new SWAT vehicle and $141,608 on the bomb trailer. The vehicles may not get called out a lot but officers do train on them monthly.
"You never know when you’re going to need it but you got to be able to get your officers that are highly trained in the Rockford Police Department and that equipment to respond to the scene,” says Police Chief Chet Epperson. There is stress enough alone when you have that high level of a swat call and then you have a vehicle that doesn't work; it just adds added stress to our personnel."
The two new vehicles still need to be ordered. Epperson expects them to hit the streets in the next several months.