ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The Winnebago County Sheriff's Office is gearing up to recover from some budget cuts and hire five new officers. The new hires are making way for a new crime fighting task force.
The sheriff's office has cut seven million dollars from its budget since 2009, costing it eleven patrol officers. Replacing some of those officers means the sheriff can put more bodies on the street in a specialized unit.
The new unit will address crime "hot spots" or areas in the county and surrounding areas that are having specific problems...everything from traffic control...to targeting areas hardest hit by home invasions. ten officers will be in the unit...and they will go wherever they are most needed.
Winn. Co. Sheriff Richard Meyers said, "It's additional officers available that aren't going to be subject to handling regular calls for service. That can keep you pretty busy--accidents and domestic violence calls and all those other things. We want to be able to have a group of officers that are free of that responsibility."
The sheriff says the new crime fighting unit should be up and running in the next 30 days. They are in the process of picking a sergeant to head it up.
The sheriff says they will go wherever they are needed--whether that's in the City of Rockford or out in Loves Park or Machesney Park. They will be targeting hotspots so if there are a bunch of bar burglaries in a certain are they will head to that area.