Operation Clean Sweep: By the Numbers, Sort Of

By: Meghan Dwyer Email
By: Meghan Dwyer Email

"The goal of the clean sweep is to work with other agencies to put as many officers as we can on the streets of Rockford to eradicate the crime problem," says Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson.

But it's unclear whether the sweeps have done much to crackdown on crime.

Operation Clean Sweep started in October, 2011. Hundreds of law enforcement officers and their agencies joined forces to serve warrants, check on parolees, and find drug dealers.

"Many of these [sweeps] are generated because citizens have called the police department and they say 'hey we believe there's an alleged drug house at this location,'" Epperson says.

Rockford Police and the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department spent about $34,000 on overtime pay for the sweeps, but only 16 people were arrested for drugs; 6 for guns; and 13 for prostitution. Police also recovered 18 grams of cocaine, 6 guns, and $10,000 in cash.

The big busts came early in the sweeps, in October, when police uncovered 24 pounds of pot and 387 pot plants growing in a home - worth nearly $2 million.

Police have only kept track of people who were arrested in four out of the six sweeps -- and nobody is following up on the court cases to see if anyone is serving jail time, or the cases were dismissed.

Police say a "score card" of their efforts will be forthcoming, but when 23 News sent a FOIA requesting the names of everyone arrested from October - April, not all the information was available because it hadn't been kept.

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