Three years later: Rockford leaders share what has change since George Floyd’s murder

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 5:49 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Three years after the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police Officer, Derek Chauvin, law enforcement agencies across the country say they’re making changes to policies, but some local leaders say more can be done.

“We train, train and retrain and make sure that’s not happening. That’s part of my responsibilities and part of my staff’s responsibilities because if we felt like we had that, we would react immediately,” said Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana.

Caruana says his department, and other departments around the state, are increasing accountability for their officers. Increased training hours, more body cameras, and better tracking the use of force are just a few examples. In fact, each instance of use of force is reported to the Illinois Training and Standards board.

“They look at it and say hey, this person is gonna be decertified because of this reason. Well if that person is decertified they are no longer a police officer anywhere, in the State of Illinois,” he said.

Caruana says as police show more accountability, it’s time for the public and other departments to do the same.

“Whether it’s city, county, state, federal, have to hold themselves accountable to make sure that there is right laws for all a community and we’re holding everybody accountable, not just the police,” he told 23 News

However, Rockford’s NAACP President, Rhonda Greer Robinson, feels more change needs to happen. She says we haven’t seen the civilian oversight board in action 3 years later.

“Rockford has seven members on this Rockford Civilian Review Board, have their names been announced? The community needs to know who they are, and with summer right here lets get it moving,” she said.

She does agree with Caruana in some aspects though. With police holding themselves accountable, the public must do the same. As rates of violence and poor mental health rise in our youth, the public must know how to combat it.

“They go through intense evaluation right? So lets make sure that we’re doing that same intense evaluation within our community,” Greer Robinson said.

Greer Robinson works as a teacher and says she’s seen the rise in poor mental health in children. She worries that if police, teachers and the public aren’t trained in how to respond to these cases, we’ll see more death.