ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Some Rockford aldermen say they refuse to pass a new budget until they have enough information on the police department's new geo-policing plan. On Tuesday, the police chief opened up about the plan to one group of Rockford neighbors.
Chief Chet Epperson says his department is meeting with architects and the city council should have a proposal for a location and budget for the District Two pilot program for geo-policing by the end of March, just in time to pass the city's 2013 budget.
Epperson met with neighbors in the 10th ward Tuesday night to explain the benefits of geo-policing; one of them that moving out of the Public Safety Building and into separate district buildings would cut down on response time. Epperson says buildings aren't as important as the relationships created between the officers and the neighbors in their patrol area. Most of the neighbors at tonight's meeting like the idea and say, let's try it!
"I like the idea of having consistent people that we can communicate with about issues in our neighborhood, familiar faces, people we can count on to talk to when we have concern about crime in our neighborhood, I do like that idea,” says 10th Ward resident Elizabeth Hand.
In the past, the department had considered leasing a building on 7th street and 4th avenue for the District Two HQ, but nothing is confirmed yet. Epperson does say, whatever building is chosen, the lease won't bust the department's budget. Epperson hinted at locations for the District Three headquarters, including the old Pep Boys on State St. or a building near Guilford and Alpine.