Posts Tagged ‘Rockford Police Department’


It is past due time for staffing of the office. Obviously, it was of no real use without a deputy on duty.

“…Monday, the Rockford City Council OK’d a deal to pay the county $75,000 annually to fund the salary and benefits of a sheriff’s deputy who will be stationed noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Assessment Center housed in the Juvenile Justice Center at 211 S. Court St., the old Federal Courthouse.

Court officials said the presence of a deputy will speed up the process of returning the arresting officer to the streets and releasing juveniles back into the custody of their parents, or lodging them in the Juvenile Detention Center if necessary.

The deputy is described by Jakeway and Juvenile Probation Division supervisor John Papiernick as a vital cog in the assessment process. However, a deputy has been absent from the Assessment Center since September 2015 when the position was cut by Sheriff Gary Caruana because of budget constraints…”

http://www.rrstar.com/news/20170325/winnebago-county-juvenile-assessment-center-soon-to-be-fully-operational

 

 

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EVERYONE is concerned about crime. That’s no secret. It’s debatable whether or not there is more crime today than in the past, but people generally feel more unsafe today; perhaps because they see and hear more media coverage about crime.

Most people are not tracing the trend though and do not perceive that criminals today are really racing against technology. Reports show local police department acquiring more military grade equipment and technology to fight crime. In a few years, this investment in technology will reduce crime as long as police departments are able to keep up with processing the results they will obtain from their new toys. Over time suspect identification and evidence gathering will become more and more sophisticated from the proliferation and use of cameras and other tracking devices that your average young or middle-class offender will stand little chance of escaping detection when committing crimes.

Locally, the Rockford Police Department is working to obtain more street cameras and a means to immediately identify gunshot  source locations. On the one hand, communities are in support of police attempts to beef up technology. On the other hand, at some point in the future, community citizens may end up finding police technology intrusive and themselves lacking any protection about it and it’s potential misuse.

While Rockford Police Chief O’Shea publicly works to get more equipment, most Rockfordians don’t know that the Rockford Police Department has also quietly discontinued it’s program for police officers to use body cameras. The department now claims body cameras are not a priority and are too expensive to implement.

Police departments across the nation support body cameras for police because they generally find them helpful in defending their departments against allegations of physical abuse against arrestees. However, Rockford abandoned them during their pilot project roll-out and never even gave them a chance to work.

Read, an issue of concern: Some police Departments regressing against use of body cameras

From the Article:

“…Mann said he does still believe body-worn cameras are an effective tool for police officers.

Defense attorneys and civil rights groups say the proposed script would give officers a blueprint to explain away misconduct documented on video.

Heather Hamel, executive director of Arizona Justice That Works, a group dedicated to ending mass incarceration, said reading officers the statement about video is effectively witness tampering.

“It’s going to impact the integrity of investigations involving police misconduct or potential police misconduct. It’s going to feed officers potential excuses to explain away their behavior,” Hamel said…”


By Jeff Kolkey Staff writer

Posted Jun. 24, 2016 at 12:14 PM
Updated Jun 24, 2016 at 5:37 PM

ROCKFORD — Digital scanners tuned to Rockford police channels will fall silent Aug. 1.

Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea is ordering all digital radio communications to be transmitted over only encrypted channels starting in August, preventing members of the public and news organizations from listening to police radio traffic. O’Shea said he is concerned about officer safety and individuals’ privacy rights and worries that open communication tips off criminals to police movements.

The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department may follow suit next year.”I’m not trying to hide anything,” O’Shea said today. “It’s not about cutting off the media or the public.”

O’Shea said technology had made it easier for criminals to glean information from police radio traffic that can thwart law enforcement, give suspects advanced notice of imminent law enforcement activity and compromise investigations.

The change to encrypted channels involves reprogramming police radios at virtually no cost, O’Shea said.Plans are for the department to continue keeping a police blotter, Facebook page and Twitter feed to disseminate information to the public.

O’Shea said the department plans to establish a dedicated news media hotline and create a 911 call log that journalists and the public can use to monitor criminal and police activity.It has not been determined how often the log will be updated and published. And O’Shea said it will be scrubbed of calls, such as child sex crimes and “certain domestics,” the police department determines are inappropriate to publish.

“With what we are putting in place, I feel very comfortable it won’t decrease our transparency,” O’Shea said.Don Craven, an attorney for the Illinois Press Association, said the shift to encrypted police communications is becoming more common in the state and in jurisdictions across the country. Police encryption raises the chance that the police department itself becomes the sole source of news and information about crime, he said.

“It’s going to make it very difficult to have immediate knowledge of what’s going on,” Craven said. “I’m not sure if this was designed to keep nosy reporters from knowing what’s going on, or if that’s an aftereffect.”

Source: Rockford to scramble all police radio communication – News – Rockford Register Star – Rockford, IL


http://www.rrstar.com/news/20160430/exclusive-rockford-cops-firing-over-dui-arrest-entangles-three-other-officers

“…Eventually, the investigation of Hedges mushroomed until three more officers whom police commanders said had appeared to protect Hedges became the subject of internal investigations….”

Mentioned in the RRSTAR investigation about just one fellow-police officer response and incident by the Rockford Police Department are three other officers: Bruce Brannum, Rosemary Matthews and Leann Ness, who became the subjects of investigations by police Internal Affairs for their actions in possibly covering up alleged misconduct by officer Jonathan Hedges. The RRSTAR had to review hundreds of pages it obtained by FOIA from the police to piece together what happened when Hedges was found asleep or passed out in front of his house.

It is extraordinary and indicative of just how bad internal practices must be in the Rockford Police Department that head commanders have to force the issue in order to ensure that police officers are investigated and treated like ordinary citizens when they do wrong.

Bruce Brannum was one of the first responders to the Greg Clark murder scene in 2008. He reported to Greg Lindmark at the time. He may play a tangential role in Richard Wanke’s case and trial. However, his actions regarding the Hedges incident seem to indicate that his 35 years on the police force not only made him possibly susceptible to maintaining the “thin blue line” of silence about wrong-doing of fellow officers, but well-versed in taking the easy option out when under scrutiny; just retire to stop the questions. He allegedly smelled alcohol on Hedge’s breath. That should have sufficed to follow normal protocol. Instead he reached for the union first for Hedge’s benefit. It’s too bad that “retiring out”of  investigations is still allowed other places as well as locally. Police officer investigations should not be closed when officers retire. Any potential misconduct committed on the job should follow officers into private life same as holds true for the rest of us.