Rockford Police's Pilot Geopolicing District Begins Sunday

MGN Online
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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- After years of planning, Rockford's plan to separate the police department into three smaller sections is almost a reality. The pilot geopolicing district starts on Sunday.

It's moving day at the Public Safety Building. Detectives who are part of the new District 2 geopolicing pilot program are moving into their new offices. It's still at the PSB but separate from the rest of the police department.

The last few weeks have been busy working out the specifics.

"The details, getting all the details together, making sure everyone understands how its going to work, what our vision is. How each one of their job responsibilities is going to fit into the team," says assistant deputy chief Doug Pann.

Geopolicing officially starts on Sunday with patrol shifts. Detectives and the neighborhood response unit start their new jobs on Monday.

Officers are ready for the change but some aldermen still question the logistics.

"I think they're maybe going to prove to themselves and the public that we can coexist in a central location and still do individual coverage of the city," says Alderman Teena Newburg, 9th Ward.

Alderman Newburg says she likes the idea of having the same officers patrolling the same neighborhoods every day. Though Newburg says she thinks our tax dollars would be better spent hiring more officers.

"We have 275 officers. I would like to see that number 325, 330. I think that would help," Newburg says.

Despite her reservations, Newburg wishes these officers luck in the pilot program. It's designed to prevent and help solve crimes quicker.

There are about 65 officers making up this pilot district. Another change coming with geopolicing -- officers will now work 12-hour days instead of 10.

To summarize geopolicing, the police department has to get out of the PSB. So the city decided when the move happens, the department will be broken up into three geographic areas. One police station will be in each district. Those sites still haven't been chosen. The hope was this pilot district would be outside the PSB but the city didn't get one of those new sites up and running quick enough.

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