ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Anywhere from 18 to 49 Rockford police officers could lose their badges due to budget cuts. But the police union says they're already experiencing major staffing problems.
Terry Peterson, Rockford Police Union President, "There are huge philosophical differences in the way we do things. These guys are in the front lines in the trenches and we're the ones that are at risk by not having the resources we need."
One of those resources is inmate transport vans. The number of them was cut in half last year. So now instead of relying on designated officers to pick up the newly arrested, the arresting officer frequently takes them to jail, and could get tied up with paperwork, making them unavailable to fight crime. Despite this complaint, staffing levels are looking grim.
Chief Chet Epperson, Rockford Police, "I don't want to lose officers, and maybe we could gain some back, but the stark reality nationwide is every community or municipality is having to make cuts across the board."