UPDATE: Epperson's Attorney Hurts Back; Monday Hearing Postponed

ROCKFORD (WIFR) --- The Board of Fire & Police Commissioners in Rockford has postponed a hearing for Police Chief Chet Epperson, according to Terrence Peterson, PBPA Unit 6 President.

Epperson's attorney, Thomas McGuire, hurt his back and the board has granted his request to delay the hearing.

Epperson was expected to testify on Monday in connection to allegations that he interfered with an investigation involving his officers.

Peterson says the potential hearing date is now September 10.



UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) – A judge has ruled that the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners does have the authority to hear the union complaint filed against Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson.

This means the Board can discipline the chief if necessary. Epperson's attorney tried to argue the Board didn't have the authority.

Epperson is expected to testify Monday to determine if a full hearing is necessary.


UPDATE: We're expected to learn this week whether a complaint filed by the Rockford police union against Chief Chet Epperson can be heard.

This finally appears to be the last step in determining whether the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners can hear a complaint filed against Epperson. Judge Eugene Doherty says he'll make a decision by Friday at the latest.

Today Epperson's attorney made arguments as to why Judge Doherty should dismiss the union complaint. Thomas McGuire stands by his argument that only the mayor has the authority to discipline the chief, since he's supposed to appoint him.

However attorneys for both the union and the the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, say the board has the authority since it actually appointed the chief. Epperson's attorney says the board did so illegally.

"The alleged appointment of the chief of police was never perfected by the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, in the sense that (Epperson) was never sworn in by the board," said Epperson's attorney Thomas McGuire.

"The tasks of issuing certificates of appointment and administering oaths of office are superficial formalities and whether those were done or not, doesn't impact the board's authority to appoint the chief, discipline the chief," said Ian Linnabary, secretary and hearing officer for the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners.

The city clerk gave Epperson the official oath of office as chief. This complaint all stems from a welfare check that happened in the Fall. The union says Epperson interfered with officers doing their job.

A probable cause hearing is still scheduled for Monday before the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, to decide if there's enough evidence to move to a full hearing. Chief Epperson is expected to testify.


ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Rockford's police chief is now being accused of misleading the court during recent proceedings.

The police union amended its complaint against Chief Chet Epperson, adding additional counts.

Union members say Epperson deceived the court by saying he was hired by the mayor and not the Fire and Police Commission. That was when a judge was deciding whether the board could move forward with a disciplinary hearing.

The union says Epperson's alleged comments are making the entire department look bad, and say it's another reason they believe he's not fit to lead the force.


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