Rockford Police Department

Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco

14 protesters were arrested Friday during a demonstration organized by the May 30th Alliance outside the Rockford City Market. Upwards of 50 protesters gathered across the street from the market at the Joe Marino Park and called for solidarity. 



Tensions escalated during a “Back the Blue” rally held Saturday on the west side of Rockford. In all, 17 protesters were arrested at that and other events over the weekend. 



The rally drew hundreds of law enforcement supporters to the Winnebago County Criminal Justice Center. Dozens of counter protesters also gathered to disrupt the rally.


Rockford Police Department

The Rockford Police Department announced that the use of force at a police protest in May was lawful and justified.



After reviewing 120 hours of video footage and 90 police reports, the Rockford Police Department concluded that its use of pepper spray, tear gas and less lethal munitions during the May 30th protest were within proper procedure.

Mayor Tom McNamara said the decision was unanimous.

Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco

Rockford’s Board of Fire and Police Commissioners voted unanimously to dismiss a formal complaint against the city’s police chief.

Commissioners found no probable cause to proceed to an evidentiary hearing over a formal complaint alleging that Police Chief Daniel O’Shea violated policy by showing bias and discrimination.

The complaint arose over a comment O’Shea made in May during a news conference.

Rockford Police Department

A Rockford police officer has tested positive and is recovering at home in self-isolation. In a news release, the Rockford Police Department says it was notified Thursday, April 2, that an officer tested positive for coronavirus disease. No other information is being released about the officer or the circumstances surrounding the testing or delay in announcing the diagnosis.

In the news release, police chief Dan O'Shea said, “Our people are our best asset and we will do anything and everything we can to keep them safe.” 

Winnebago County State's Attorney's office

A former Rockford police officer was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to an armed robbery at a bus station in July 2018. Yuliya Kuznets and former Rockford Metro Enforcement officer James Akerman both pleaded guilty to the armed robbery Tuesday before a Winnebago County judge. Kuznets and Akerman had worked together at Rockford Metro Enforcement, a private security company, but had both quit before the robbery took place.


Crime numbers are down in Rockford compared to last year, according to new statistics released today by the city.  According to those statistics, violent crimes are down by 21 percent in the city compared to 2018. 



Rockford Police Chief Daniel O’Shea says officers and detectives going out into the community and building bridges have made a difference. 


Winnebago County State's Attorney's office

Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato says a former Rockford police officer is one of two people facing charges for an armed robbery.


Former officer Yuliya Kuznets and former Rockford Metro Enforcement officer James Akerman are accused of committing armed robbery at the Van Galder bus depot July 22. Kuznets also worked for Rockford Metro Enforcement, which is a private security company. The two quit the company earlier this year.


Guy Stephens/ WNIJ

Rockford’s mayor wishes his city’s fire department wasn’t the second-busiest in Illinois. But he’s pleased about a big drop in violent crimes. 

Tom McNamara said, for the first four months of the year, the city’s fire department has seen an increase in total calls compared to the same period last year, with a 26 percent increase in fire calls.

photo provided by Rockford Police Dept

Rockford police say a search continues for the man charged in connection with the shooting deaths of three passengers on a party bus.

The Winnebago County coroner on Monday identified the victims of Saturday's shooting as 22-year-old Daijon Sistrunk, 24-year-old Martavies Blake, and 27-year-old Sean Anderson, all of Rockford.

The Rockford Police Department says Raheem D. King was on the bus with the victims at the time of the shooting. Police spokeswoman Laura Maher says an arrest warrant was issued for King by the Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office.

Phil Masterton/WNIJ

The city of Rockford and others are saying their final farewells to 30-year-old Rockford Police Officer Jaimie Cox this weekend.

A police funeral was held Saturday morning at First Free Rockford.

Officers from Rockford, northern Illinois, and several bordering states attended.

Victor Yehling/WNIJ News

Nearly a hundred people braved the Monday night chill to gather for a candlelight vigil at the church where Rockford Police Officer Jaimie Cox lost his life -- an event now being called murder.

Rev. Matthew Johnson, senior minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church, set the tone for the evening.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Check your medicine cabinet. Still have painkillers left from dental surgery years ago? Leftover prescription drugs can end up in the wrong hands or contaminating the environment, but there are ways to get rid of your unneeded pills safely.

The Rockford Police Department now has prescription-drug drop-off boxes in all three of its district stations.

Rockford Police Department

The Rockford Police Department has warned people in the past that, just because something -- like a string of alleged shootings -- is called in, the call may not be classified that way.

Now the place where that information will be posted will change, because the Illinois data portal that hosted the information will go offline indefinitely this year to undergo web maintenance. 

Rockford PD

The Rockford Police Department is rolling out a new, five-week women's self-defense class, and it’s already reached capacity weeks before it’s scheduled to start.

The class aims to boost situational awareness. Deputy Rockford Police Chief Mike Dalke said it's half the battle in self-protection. 

Rockford Police doled out 459 arrests for drunk driving last year, according to a recent study.

Decatur came in second with slightly more than 400 arrests. Chicago is not factored into the evaluation due to its size. 

Meanwhile, Illinois State Police saw a significant drop in intoxicated driving arrests. 

Rockford Police Chief Dan O'Shea said his department stepped up its efforts after 16 traffic fatalities in 2015. 

"There's crashes, crime or complaints, if you will," he said. "Those three things drive how we push our traffic enforcement."

Rockford Police Department

Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea and Mayor Larry Morrissey welcomed several hundred people Wednesday into the old Turner School Building at 1410 Broadway. 

Rockford Police Department

The Rockford Police Department plans to spread holiday cheer to elementary school students this week.

Officers and command staff will be at the schools for about a half hour near the end of the day.  They'll hand out candy canes and talk with the students as they leave for the day.


Most of the visits will take place Tuesday and Wednesday.  They were also scheduled for today, but Rockford Public Schools are closed due to severe weather. 


Flickr User Chris Rice/CC 2.0

Northern Illinois police say residents have reported sightings of scary clowns.   

They occurred in areas such as DeKalb and Rockford and mirror similar reports coming in from across the country since late August.  

Rockford police say most reports have been unfounded, with the exception of one dressed for a radio promotion.

DeKalb police officer Craig Woodruff says there were two reports late Tuesday night. One allegedly fled the scene when spotted by passerby, but the other was reportedly riding a bicycle in a costume.

Rockford Police Offering 'Coffee With A Cop' on Friday

Oct 6, 2016
Rockford Police Department

Rockford residents are likely to see city police at local restaurants and cafes Friday morning.  They’re taking part in Coffee With A Cop, a national initiative meant to improve relations between the community and law enforcement. 

Deputy Police Chief Carla Redd says it provides a more neutral ground for citizens and police to meet. 

“We don’t have an agenda set," she said. "We’re letting the public come to us and discuss whatever issues they may have that they want to discuss with the police officers."  

Rockford City Council Approves Police Labor Agreement

Aug 2, 2016
Rockford Police Department

Rockford’s city council last night unanimously approved a labor agreement with the city police. 

The measure provides a six-dollar, twenty-five cent hourly wage increase over the next three years, and insurance over the next four years.  12th Ward Alderman John Beck says the final vote was quite straightforward.

“I think it was a very fair agreement, and I appreciate that the police were willing to face the realities of what the city is facing as far as our financial situation, and weren’t asking for too much.  It made it a really easy process,” he said.  

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner enacted a law last week to make possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana a civil penalty.

Now, people will only face fines reaching $200.

Patrick Hoey is the Assistant Deputy Chief of Rockford Police. He says nothing's new; the department decriminalized marijuana possession back in 2015.

Rockford To Move Into New PD HQ

Jul 28, 2016
Rockford Police Department

  The Rockford Police Department is set to move into a new District 2 headquarters by the end of the year.

The Register-Star reports the city is renovating the Turner School building at Broadway and 10th Street. 

At a press conference, Mayor Larry Morrisey thanked five local banks for a $10 million line of credit. 

This building will house the investigative unit, and officials hope to have buildings for Districts 1 and 3 open in 2017.

Officials in Rockford say a 12-year-old girl is in critical condition after being shot multiple times.


The Rockford Register Star reports that the girl was hospitalized Monday morning after the Sunday afternoon shooting.

Rockford Police Chief Dan O'Shea said officers are looking for occupants of a dark-colored sport coupe.

The vehicle was seen at about 3 p.m. Sunday chasing and its occupants opening fire on another vehicle.

Police say as many as five people were in the vehicle being chased.

eEgin police department

Rockford's Board of Fire and Police Commissioners announced their pick Thursday for the city's next police chief: Dan O'Shea of the Elgin Police Department.

O'Shea is Elgin's Police Operations Bureau Commander. He beat out Rockford Assistant Deputy Chief Doug Pann for the position. A third finalist dropped out earlier this week after he was offered a contract extension at his current position in Racine, Wisconsin.

Rockford Police Chief Finalists Will Be Named Next Week

Mar 10, 2016

Finalists in the search for a new Rockford Police Chief will be announced early next week, according to the Rockford Board of Fire and Police Commissioners.

The new chief will fill the position left vacant by Chet Epperson, who retired last November.

With the help of search firm IOS Solutions, the board is winnowing the 26 qualified applicants. The board is scheduled to review applications and select three or four finalists at its meeting next Monday. 

Rockford PD Launches Body Cam Pilot Program

Mar 7, 2016
Flickr: West Midlands Police / Photo cropped from original

The Rockford Police Department is launching a body camera program today.

Thirteen volunteer officers will wear body cameras for a 60-day trial period. 

Douglas Pann is the city’s Assistant Deputy Police Chief. He says this kind of program hasn’t been done before with the department.

“It’s really a test-and-evaluate. Once they complete that, then we would look at other vendors also. But at this point, this will be the first one," Pann said.

Rockford Police Complete Change To A New Look

Jan 16, 2016
Rockford Police Department

The Rockford Police Department will completes its transition to single-color uniforms this weekend, part of a national trend of police departments to standard navy blue uniforms.

All sworn officers -- from patrolman to chief -- will be outfitted the same regardless of rank. Command staff is indicated by bars or stars on the collar, and insignia on the left cuff which represents years of service for each officer. Each hash mark signifies five years of service.

Rockford Police Chief Epperson To Retire

Oct 14, 2015
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson is retiring and moving to a new job in law enforcement. The 53-year-old has been with the department for 30 years and chief of police since 2006.

Epperson made the announcement Wednesday afternoon at Rockford City Hall. Earlier in the day, he told his officers and other police department employees about his decision. Epperson became eligible for retirement earlier this year. 

His retirement is effective November 13th. He'll receive 75% of his pay and full benefits.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Training a new generation of effective leaders often involves mentoring through a shared passion. It involves someone with a strong skill set who is willing to help someone else feel the spark. Sometimes, it takes more than a one-on-one relationship. WNIJ’s Susan Stephens reports, as part of our occasional series, “Pass The Torch.”