Winnebago County explains to residents how they can receive a free Ring doorbell

Leaders say it’s as simple as applying on the Winnebago County website.
Initiative giving free ring doorbell cameras to residents
Initiative giving free ring doorbell cameras to residents(Stephanie Quirk)
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 10:53 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Winnebago County leaders hope their new safety initiative that uses Ring doorbells promises residents peace of mind, while helping area law enforcement fight crime.

Tuesday night, dozens of community members gathered to learn how they can get their hands on one of the 677 the county is offering.

“You’re not only helping yourself, but you’re (also) helping your neighbors,” said Winnebago County Resident Joe Conner.

Joe Conner uses a Ring Camera on his front door. He believes in the philosophy, that it’s better to be safe, than sorry.

“You can’t stand on the sidelines and criticize,” said Conner. “You have to get involved and try to help, no matter how minimal.”

Doorbell videos have been shared more and more over the years to help police break a case, and catch suspects red-handed. In March, Ring video helped Rockford Police track down the men allegedly behind the shooting and killing of an 18-year-old man on Sablewood Drive in Rockford.

“No one’s going to break in without it being captured on video,” said Winnebago County Board Member Burt Gerl.

Now, police say residents in four districts got to learn how they can take home a Ring Doorbell Camera. They just have to apply on the Winnebago County website, and look for the Ring logo next to their county board member. Ring The catch, is area law enforcement can access the footage.

“Twenty, thirty years ago neighbors would stay up all night to try to keep the community safe, well technology has replaced that,” said Gerl.

Gerl and Conner echo a similar sentiment. They think the new tool will stem the tide of a violent crime in the area, but they say it can’t fall on the police alone.

“It helps with your neighborhood safety overall,” said Conner.

The offer is for residents in Winnebago County districts 15, 10, 11 and 4. Once applications are full, leaders say recipients will receive an email on how to pick them up. The money being used to pay for the program comes from American Rescue Plan Funds each board member received.

Gerl says the hope is to make this initiative county-wide in the future.