Rockford Police change how they patrol the streets with geopolic - – Rockford’s News Leader

Rockford Police change how they patrol the streets with geopolicing


The way Rockford Police patrol your streets has changed. The department officially moved to geographic policing on Sunday.

"32?" asks Sgt. Harold Combs.

"Here," answers back.

It was business as usual during afternoon roll call at the Rockford Police Department. Sgt. Combs gave officers a quick update on what incidents had happened the day before. Then, the officers were sent out to patrol their geographic police district.

"We are going to have officers, commanders and supervisors be responsible for a geographic area, not the whole City of Rockford. We find there will be much more efficiency with that model," says Chief Chet Epperson.

Rockford Police tested geographic policing last year in one section of the city, the near east side. That's district two. There are three districts in the police department. The west side is district one and far east side is district three.

"It was somewhat like that before but now it is much more defined, streamlined and assignments are made to sergeants where before they used to be made shifts. So each officer has a specific sergeant that they answer to," says Lieutenant John Hoeksema.

For the public, there is not going to be a physical change yet. The plan for geographic policing is to eventually move the three districts into three separate buildings. The former post office on East State Street, the old Turner School on Broadway and a new facility at West State Street and Avon. In the meantime, police will remain in the Public Safety Building. But the change the public should see will come if they have a regular crime issue.

"If you had a repeat problem you'll probably see the same officer or the same responding to that or at least the same sergeant where you might not see that quite as much," says Lt. Hoeksema.

Rockford Police say some departments will not be broken up into districts. For example, the gangs and narcotics departments will stay in centralized units. 

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