Rockford residents join oversight board to help police relations with community

Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 7:53 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The city of Rockford will turn to community members to help improve the trust between area residents and the police department.

“My hope is just unifying us and making us a stronger community,” said Jillisa Bondurant, who is a board member of the Civilian Oversight Committee.

The Civilian Oversight Board is a group of seven that is picked by the city to improve the relationship between those who live in the community and those who serve and protect.

Bondurant saw a post by the city of Rockford on social media that was seeking out individuals interested in bettering the community. She applied for the position and is now one of the seven.

“I’m born and raised in Rockford, I love the city and I love the people here,” Bondurant expressed.

Bondurant says Rockford is a great place to live but improvements are essential.

“Why not be a part of something that could help build trust between the police department and the city and increase transparency? You can’t complain about something if you’re not part of the solution,” said Bondurant.

All board members will have access to citizen complaints and internal investigations. A report listing improvements will be given to City Council and the police chief for review.

“We will also have the police chief attend all of these meetings and so anything that needs to change also in a much more rapid rate we’ll be able to do immediately,” Mayor Tome McNamara explained.

McNamara says it’s the citizen who pays the salaries of public officials, so they deserve to know what is going on and play a role in seeking improvements. All meetings and reports will be made available to the public so that anyone can view them.

“We’re just bringing this to the forefront to show citizens that entire process and let citizens have a seat at the table so that if they see something that we can improve,” said McNamara.

He says the city has a 411 tip line and it can be used to report any crime. You can text the number and even send in the footage while remaining anonymous.