Upcoming Fire And Police Commission Vote

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

Wednesday's abrupt retirement of outgoing Rockford police chief Steve Pugh means a new commission, if approved, will decide just who will guide officers through a new era.

Last month, Mayor Larry Morrissey announced his nominees for the Fire and Police Commission, a body he expects to reflect his campaign mission of neighborhood policing.

The mayor's choices are former city employee Jim Powers, former Winnebago County board member Henrietta Dotson-Williams and businesswoman Lorayne Logan.

The commission not only examines members for the city's fire and police departments, but also makes the call on certain promotions.

Now the question remains, will the new commission choose outside Rockford’s PD for its new top cop? That's never happened since the department began in 1890.

Two city alderman recently voiced concerns about the commission's choices, choices the mayor defends as qualified and strong.

"(Jim Powers) understands that community policing is more than just the police department. It's the community and I can't think of anyone who will do a better job of reflecting the community's hopes, dreams and desires and the principles than Jim Powers," Morrissey said.

Rockford police chief Steve Pugh is scheduled to retire on November 1.

An outgoing fire and police commissioner wished the nominees well, but admitted the selection of a new chief is a huge responsibility involving long hours of preparation.

Rockford aldermen have other critical decisions on tap Monday.

A city committee is expected to review a daytime curfew ordinance.

The proposed law was criticized by some as targeting minorities, and falsely targeting home-schooled students.

In city council, aldermen are expected to vote on a littering ordinance, which would fine messy neighbors for leaving trash on their lawns.


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