The Rockford Police Department welcomes some new officers to the force on Friday.
"I look forward to being a part of something bigger than myself. And ultimately having this really great end product, a better community, a community people want to be a part of," says new officer Ashley Kengott.
Kengott is one of 17 officers who took the oath to serve and protect the city of Rockford. The city swore in an additional five officers today after Rockford leaders approved a federal grant. The grant pays for half of the cost for five additional officers, while the city pitches in $280,000. Six of those new officers are from the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office.
Rockford Police Chief Dan O'Shea says after budget cuts at the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office, it was unclear if sheriff's office recruits would have a future in the police academy. But O'Shea says he's glad he could keep that talent in Winnebago County by hiring them to the police force.
"He was concerned about his employees that were currently at the police academy and it was kind of a good time because we were in the process of hiring," says Chief O'Shea.