ROCKFORD (WIFR) – After Rockford’s police union agreed to the geographic policing pilot program last week, all that stood in the way was a vote by the city council to approve the new police contract and that’s exactly what they did tonight.
Now Rockford Police can move forward with the geo-policing pilot program that will create a new police district by building a station in one of the city’s neighborhoods. That station will be manned by 36 officers and those officers will only patrol that area. The police union has been skeptical of this plan from the start so it agreed only to try geo-policing for one year, which is how long the test program will be.
"A good way to police is to divide our city into three distinct police districts,” said Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson. “We're a city of some 70 square miles and having one centralized operation just doesn't do it."
All that’s left now is for the department to find a building to turn into their new district station. Chief Epperson says they’re shopping around but haven’t picked a building yet.
Rockford Police officers will be able to volunteer to man the new district in mid-January. Chief Epperson says he hopes to have a building picked in the next couple months.