This is a reprint of a history of the Rockford Police Department which was originally written and revised by retired Lieutenant Allen Peterson. He wrote it as a term paper for a course he was taking at Rock Valley College several years ago. It is the only written history of the Department to date. The original paper was later updated and revised. Both were reprinted in segments in the Department Training Bulletin, the original in 1973 and the revision in 1982.


To properly write a history of the Rockford Police Department, it is necessary to go back to the first settlers of Rockford. On December 3, 1818, Illinois officially became the twenty-first state. At that time there was no Winnebago County. It was not until the Fall of 1829 that the first permanent white settler found his way to what is now Winnebago County. That year, Steven Mack settled in what was to become Macktown, a small settlement just south of the present town of Rockton. Rockford was not to receive its first resident until 1834, when Germanicus Kent found his way here.

Germanicus Kent and his hired hand, Thatcher Blake, settled on the west side of the Rock River. Kent built a sawmill on the creek that bears his name. The site of this first sawmill is now part of the yards of the Illinois Central Railroad. Tinker Cottage is situated on a hill overlooking the original site. Kent was so pleased with what he had that he sent word back to his friends and relatives in Alabama encouraging them to come and settle here.

The following year found Daniel S. Haight settling on the east bank of the river, upstream from Kent. Haight was the first settler to bring his family here. He chose a site on the northeast comer of what is now East State and Madison to build his first house. At first, the West Side took on the name of Kentsville, while the East Side was known as Haightsville.

The State Legislature, meeting in Vandalia in 1836, voted to establish Winnebago County. At that time, Cook LaSalle, and Jo Davies Counties extended from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River. When first organized, Winnebago County included all of its present boundaries, as well as all of Boone and the eastern two townships of Stephenson County. With the establishment of Winnebago County, we probably got our first local law enforcement. Daniel Haight was elected the first Sheriff of Winnebago County.

The settlements of Haightsville and Kentsville got together in 1839 and formed the village of Rockford. For a period before the forming of the village, the settlements had been known as Midway, due to the location halfway between Chicago and Galena, the two main towns of northern Illinois at that time. Little information can be found about the village of Rockford.

Rockford shared some of the glamour of the Old West during the period from 1837 to 1845. During this period, the Banditti of the Prairie were active in this area. This was a band of outlaws that terrorized the Mississippi Valley area. This period is partially covered in a book, Banditti of the Prairie, written by a newspaperman turned bounty hunter, Edward Bonny. Bonny tells of his adventures in tracking some of the leaders of the gang from Galena to southern Indiana.

According to Church's History of Rockford and Winnebago County, a couple of the members of that gang lived here. One almost was elected justice of the Peace before it was found out that he was a member of the gang. It has been proven that this gang was responsible for the robbery of the store of William McKenney in the 300 block of East State Street, and also the robbery of William Mulford who ferried east of Rockford. At the apex of the crime, a group in Ogle County called on a Judge Ford to seek a solution. He advised them to form an organization to seek out members of the gang or others involved in crimes punish them, suggesting they be forcefully taken from their homes, stripped to the waist and lashed with a Blacksnake: Thirty-six lashes for a first offense and sixty for a second.

An organization was formed with members in both Ogle and Winnebago Counties. A list of by-laws was set up, a leader elected, and they gave themselves the name of The Regulaters. So effective were The Regulators that the Banditti got together and murdered the leader of The Regulators, Captain Campbell. The Regulators quickly retaliated and went to the home of one of the gang leaders and seized him. Two of his sons were also captured. The Sheriff of Ogle County arrested one of them and placed him in the Ogle County jail.

After dark The Regulators went to the jail, broke in the door and took the prisoner. The Sheriff gave chase, but they crossed the Rock River and escaped. They took all of the prisoners to an area called Washington Grove. Among those in the mob were many leaders in the community, including ministers and lawyers. One of the lawyers, E.S. Leland, presided over the trial. One of the men was found not guilty of any crime, while two were found guilty of stealing horses. Both admitted to stealing about fifty to one hundred horses. A vote was taken among the mob, and both were found guilty and sentenced to be hung. They were given one hour to prepare themselves for death. At the end of this hour, they expressed the desire to be shot rather than hung. They were shot! One of the guards later told the mob that the prisoner he watched admitted to about five murders while he was praying in preparation for his execution.

The actual killers of Captain Campbell were never caught. One of them left the area and was never heard of, the other was shot to death by a Sheriff in Iowa.

For their deeds in the above incident, The Regulators were brought before the Grand jury in Ogle County with Judge Ford presiding. The jury never left the jury box in acquitting all participants.

Little can be found about Rockford as a village, let alone about the type of police protection it had. A book, Rockford City, published in 1904 by the Rockford Morning Star, made reference to the fact that Rockford had a Village Constable. Other than that, nothing else could be found.

By 1851, it was the feeling of many people in the village that Rockford should seek the status of a city. In an editorial in the Rockford Forum, November 26, 1851, the citizens of Rockford were encouraged to vote on the issued points that the paper used in support of adopting the city status, one of which was that it would give them greater police powers. On January 3, 1852, Rockford became a city. The first city elections were held on April 19,h and on May 8, 1852. John Platt was appointed Town Marshall. It is at this point in history that the Rockford Police Department can be traced for the first time.

It was the law at this time for the mayor to appoint the Marshall. With the job of mayor changing every year, the Marshall also changed yearly. The second Marshall was Willard Wheeler (the first mayor). After that, in the order in which they served: John Travis; James Dame; Ira Baker; during the year of 1857, there were two separate marshals, W.P. Dennis and E. Langdon; A.J.Pennock in 1859. The first man to serve more than one year was Ambrose Halstead, who was Marshall in 1861 and 1862. In 1863, three men held the office: John Fisher, M.J. Upright, and Jeremiah Mosher; in 1864, G.V. Carr and James Dame served. James Dame was listed for 1865 and Thomas Sully for 1866. Sully was the Marshall until 1884, with the exception of 1880 when P.A. Coonradt was Marshall. The Rockford Register in 1875 had an article on the police department of that day:

The police force of Rockford consists of a Marshall and assistant Marshall, who do duty by day and in the evening, and make themselves generally useful in looking after police matters throughout the city, and in calling the attention of the city fathers to publish needs on the streets, and with regards to affairs from outside with which the city government has to do. The city has also an auxiliary night police, the burden of whose support falls mainly upon the merchants.

The article goes on to point out that the city is poorly protected at night, as the merchants' police are reluctant to leave their beats to aid someone in need of police help. it gives the example of the drunk who comes home and beats his family, tears the house apart, and causes his neighbors concern. The paper says the merchants' police do not like to leave their beats for fear that someone will break into a store they are hired to protect. The Register advocates the city take over the responsibility of paying them all of their salary so they can be brought under the control of the common council. They would then like to see the Marshall become Chief of Police.

This article went on to point out the need of a central police station, stating it should be as near the river and State Street as possible. It pointed out there was an excellent location on the East End of the city bridge, on the north side of State Street. The paper felt the headquarters for the West Side division on the northeast corner of State and Main, second floor, was not too bad. It gave the location of the East Side headquarters as on North First Street, just north of State Street:

This station (the east side) and the one on Elm Street are a standing reproach and disgrace to the city, unworthy of the name of police station, and merit a more contemptuous appellation than that of calaboose. Berg would not permit a loathsome procine, just lifted from the mire, to be incarcerated for the night in one of these noisome cells. The air is noxious, unwholesome and destructive. There is no excuse for deferring the abandonment of these fetid dens, and the building of a central police station, which shall approximate, comparatively, the quality of our churches and schools

The annual report of the Marshall for the year 1878 had Marshall Sully attempting to gain control of the merchants' police and also pushing for the building of a central police station. Sully, in his report, and also Mayor Watson in his report, requested the common council hire another Marshall to care for the residents of the Fifth Ward in south Rockford. These residents were besieged with ruffians from all parts of the city, who knew it was likely that they were not going to be arrested due to the lack of police protection. Mayor Watson wanted to hire a man that lived in the area so he would be available around the clock. It is interesting to note the inventory of the police department at this time: Eleven chains - $2.20; four stoves and pipes -$25.00; three revolvers - $25-00; two pair of handcuff-s - $5.00; six balls and chains - $24.00, one table and desk - $4.00; three lanterns - $2.00; two water pails and cups - $.75, and two lamps -$1.00, for a total value of $88-95.

The first major improvements and additions to the police department were not until 1882. At this time, there was a Marshall and seven assistant marshals as well as three merchant police. An official record of the city prison began to be kept. The city prison was located on the site of the city police station when it was on First Street.

Records also show that the good citizens of the community were upset over the pace the prisoners were required to work on the rock pile. These people were satisfied when it was told it was better to have inmates work on the rock pile rather than have them working on the streets with a ball and chain on their legs.

During this period in the history of the police department, the Marshall worked from 7 A.M. to 7 P.M. Two of his assistants worked the same hours while two worked from 12 P.M. to 12 A.M., and three from 7 P.M. to 5 A.M. with a dog watch from 5 A.M. to 7 A.M. The merchants' police worked from 8 P.M. to 5 A.M.

This is also the time the police department started wearing uniforms. On September 6, 1883, Marshall Sully went to Chicago and purchased the city's first patrol wagon. From the beginning, the patrol wagons not only picked up prisoners, but also the sick and injured, carrying them either home or to the hospital. Also, a telephone was installed at the police station.

In 1885, Thomas Sully took over the duties of jailer and A.W. Webb became Marshall. For the first time, the duties of health officer were performed by someone other than the Marshall, with a separate listing for health officer. This year, the police headquarters was listed as 208 South Church, a location that was to remain until 1907 when the 126 South First Street location was completed. Marshall Webb had a telephone line strung from Court Street to Kishwaukee Street. it was capable of holding up to six call boxes. He found this necessary, because when the business houses closed for the day, so did the telephone company.

E.L. Tisdale was appointed Marshall in 1890 and held this post until early 1894 when August E. Bargren was appointed Marshall. Bargren held this post until his retirement on May 5, 1940, after fifty years of service to the community. It was Bargren's task to actually take the police department from the horse-and-buggy era to the days of the automobile and radio.

When Bargren took over as Marshall, the title was changed to Chief of Police. The Department then consisted of fourteen men. One of the first things he attempted to get for the Department was a Gamewell Police Alarm System. This he argued would force the men to call in periodically and be available for calls. Also, he said, selected citizens could be given keys and call for police help if necessary or to call if the ambulance was needed.

At the turn of the century, the Chief was able to get horses to be used in patrolling residential areas which had no police patrol. Horses were used in Rockford until about 1918.

Other early achievements of Chief Bargren included the addition of the Bertillon and fingerprint systems. He had been  trying to get these since about 1909, but it was not until 1915 that he finally was able to send Officer Herbert Reinert to Chicago where he underwent two weeks of training in the use of the systems. Reinert was the founder of the first records system of the police department. Although he was hired with the idea he would be a secretary to the Chief, Reinert was a policeman who spent over thirty years on the job, retiring as a sergeant.

Chief Bargren was instrumental in getting the necessary legislation passed to form the Fire and Police Commission and give the police department the protection of civil service. He allegedly spent money out of his own pocket to help push for the legislation. The law was adopted in 1903, with Rockford being among the first to adopt it. The first members of the Commission were A.V. Comings, Secretary, Alvin E. Crowell, President, and Daniel Lichty and NY11liam Worthington, Commissioners.

Plainclothes officers were first requested in 1903. However, they apparently were not given to the police at that time, because in 1906, the breakdown of personnel was the chief, one captain, two sergeants, seventeen patrolmen, and one patrol driver.

In 1911, the officers were granted two days a month off, in addition to the annual vacation they received. At this time, the Fire and Police Commission adopted the policy of hiring police officers from the ranks of the merchants' police.

Rockford voted to 'go dry' in 1913. This is a question that had plagued Rockford for years in its early history. Almost every election reversed itself Rockford was to remain dry until the end of Prohibition.

As mentioned earlier, it was in 1915 which Rockford started to use the Bertillon and fingerprint systems. No record could be found when the Bertillon method was dropped. At this time, mug shots were being taken at the Jackson Brothers Photographers on East State Street. Later, the police department started taking their own mug shots.

During this time, the Department purchased their first automobiles. Also, two nurses were given police powers for sixty days as an experiment in using women in police work. it was felt that they would better be able to be an aid to wayward girls, and in the censoring of motion pictures and dance halls. It was not until 1918 that the position of policewoman became permanent. The policy was to have the policewomen go out of town to pick up runaway girls.

On occasions, they would go as far as the east coast. The early policewomen also had the duty of taking care of the files and records as well as to act as desk sergeant.

During the same period, Rockford tied in with the National Bureau of Criminal Identification and the International Association of Criminal Identification. Rockford also exchanged records with the Chicago Bureau of Identification and with the Bureau of Identification, Department of justice, Levenworth, Kansas.

Chief Bargren was praised for his method of dealing with law breakers. He believed in the philosophy that, if given a chance, most people will turn out good. If he thought a person was sincere in his promise to straighten out, he would give them a second chance. This is similar to the current method of station adjustments used by our juvenile officers today. Chief Bargren received commendations when in 1904 he received recognition at the International Associations of Chiefs of Police in the matter of handling tramps and other suspicious persons in town by making them account for their time while here. He later made mention of this when he was about to retire. He stated that in his early years as a policeman, it was much easier to catch someone from out of town. The town was much smaller and people would recognize a stranger if on foot or horseback and if they used the train, they had only to telegraph the next town and the suspect would be arrested there.

The year 1919 was the end of the horse and the beginning of the motor age for the Rockford Police Department, with Rockford going to the motorcycle December 1, 1919.

The twenties were rough times for the police. Several times, Chief Bargren and his men were accused to turning their backs and allowing 'blind pigs' to flourish. In 1927, there was a strong move by several clergymen and some of the aldermen to have Bargren removed for not performing his duty. The only evidence produced against him was second and third hand, and no action was taken. This era saw the police department fighting organized crime. There were several gangland slayings. One of them saw a prisoner shot to death by a passing limousine while the victim was under arrest and standing between two detectives.

The twenties were not all bad. The police department went to the eight-hour day. Rockford took a major step forward in 1925 with the installation of traffic signals at eleven intersections. Prior to this, traffic officers' stood in the middle of the major intersections during the peak traffic hours.

During the next decade, there were additional strides in modernization of the police department, with the addition of the radio to the police cars and the starting of the 'white car'.

On September 9, 1933, Radio Station WPGD went on the air. The first radio was only one-way and the only way that the station had of knowing if the message had been received or not was to wait for a second call from the complainant or until they heard from the officers. Prior to this time, the only way an officer had of knowing if he was needed for a call was to drive by certain parts of his beats and see if the station had the light on. This light was placed at the top of a telephone pole and if the officers were needed, the desk sergeant would turn on the light. It was not until 1940 that Rockford went to the two-way radio.

In 1936, a group of five officers were assigned to a new accident investigation squad. They were given a black patrol car and a black bag containing first aid equipment. The following year, they were given a white vehicle with gold lettering, and were then call the 'white car', which it is still called.

The thirties were not all good for the Department. In 1935, Assistant Chief Homer Read was the cause of a black cloud over the Department. He was accused of accepting twenty-five dollars a week to allow a 'bookie' operation to flourish. In court, he was found not guilty', as the judge did not feel that the characters of the witnesses against him were of the best repute. This did not satisfy the Fire and Police Commission. They refused to give him back his job. He took them to court and they were ordered to reinstate him. This they refused to do pending an appeal. Finally, an agreement was reached whereby he would be reinstated and he would then retire. This was done and he collected his back pay and retired.

Two-way radios were installed in 1940. For the first time. the desk sergeant would know immediately if the cars received the message. It was not until 1954 that the radios would work car-to-car. It was also necessary for the officers to have a radio operator's license in the early days of the two-way radios.

The forties saw the end of the career of Chief Bargren, for on May 5, 1940, the year he completed his fiftieth year on the police department, forty-six as chief, he gave up the reins.

His retirement brought about some changes in the department policy. No longer would a man be able to work past the age of sixty-five. Also, the position of Assistant Chief was abolished.

The new chief was Charles Manson, the former Assistant Chief, who served only a little over two years due to his age.

During those two years, he accomplished what Chief Bargren had been trying to do for several years - to establish a formal Detective Bureau. Prior to this, plain clothes officers received patrolman's pay. Under Chief Manson came the establishment of the Detective and Traffic Bureaus. Each had a sergeant in charge. In 1960, this was changed to make them captains.

On November 24, 1942, Chief Manson turned sixty-five and was forced to retired.

On December 7, 1942, Folke Bengston was named to head the Department. He took charge at the outbreak of World War II. He lost many of his top officers and others were sent to the F.B.I. Academy for fourteen-week courses. One officer, Thomas Boustead, was given a leave of absence to work with the F.B.I. He later came back to head the Department.

With Chief Bengston, we see a step-up in the training of the police officers. Folke Bengston was a disciplinarian. He was a hard man to work for if one tended to slack off. He was regarded a fair man and would back his officers all the way if they were in the right.

The forties saw two black marks on the Department. One of them involved the theft of a union label. The label was traced to Officer Jack Bender, who had allegedly used it to stamp the campaign literature of Jack Houck, a candidate for Sheriff on the Republican ticket. With his agreement to retire, the union did not press charges against him.

The second incident was more serious. Two officers, John McFadden and Harold Rice, were accused of burglary. They admitted to several burglaries, all performed while on duty, and both were sentenced to the penitentiary.

Chief Bengston served until December 31, 1952. Captain Roy Johnson was placed in command until a new chief was selected.

On March 1, 1953, Thomas Boustead took over as Chief, Under Chief Boustead, the Department went to the forty-hour work week. He also eliminated two-wheel motorcycles and patrols.

One of his major changes was the elimination of detectives making the calls for assistance that could better be handed by uniformed officers. Until that time, detectives answered all calls for police services with the exception of traffic cases. With this came the elimination of some beat men and initiated more motorized beats.

It was under Chief Boustead that rookie patrolmen first went to a recruit school before being sent out on the beat. Many officers were sent to specialized schools.

In August of 1965, Chief Boustead retired and Delbert Peterson took over. Prior to taking over as chief, Sergeant Peterson was sent on a tour of several police departments around the country. Upon his returning and taking over command of the Department, we saw many changes. One of the first was the addition of an IBM system. He also added portable radios, so for the first time, the beat man was in direct communication with the station. He also added the teletype, hooking Rockford up on a network with major police agencies throughout the country. The Department is now part of the N.C.I.C. and L.E.A.D.S. systems. This makes it possible to find out whether a suspect is wanted anywhere in the country in a matter of minutes. We can also determine if a car is stolen or if any property that has a serial number has been reported stolen.

Another early achievement is the upgrading of the City jail. The 'pit' where the drunks were kept was eliminated. This was a large cell in the basement of the police station that had no windows or beds. Ventilation was poor. The trustee quarters were vastly improved and the general menu was improved. Later, with the aid of other civilian agencies, we saw the development of the Detoxification Center at Rockford Memorial Hospital. Now, most of the drunks are brought there, where they receive needed medical treatment instead of the jail.

The Task Force was also added. This is a group of men who usually work nights in high-crime areas. The identification Bureau has been upgraded from just checking fingerprints to a complete mobile crime laboratory with trained evidence technicians. They are now able to perform many tests that had to be sent to the F.B.I. or State Crime Lab for processing. The Youth and Community Services Division, Intelligence, and Narcotic Divisions have been added as the need for them became apparent.

Training of all of the men has been stepped up. A recruit now is sent away for six weeks of training at the University of Illinois, Police Training Division. He also attends local recruit school before he is sent out on the streets to work alone. A special Training and Personnel Division has been established.

These are but a few of the improvements made by Chief Peterson. The Department has come a long way since John Platt, the first Town Marshall. Rockford has seen the addition of horses to the Department, only to see them replaced by the automobile. The Department has seen the addition of the telephone, the call box has been added, as has the radio and all of its improvements. In 1875, the Town Marshall and newspaper called for a central police station. Now, in 1972, the Department has long outgrown its present facilities, and is expecting that by 1975, there will be a new Public Safety Building.

Rockford has seen many changes in its police department in keeping up with the times and will continue to make changes in order to keep up with the future. One thing that we still have that we had when Rockford became a city is the merchants' police. The Department still has the beat man that came along with the expansion of the police department, although not as many as in the past.


Significant changes have been made in the Rockford Police Department since the writing of The History of the Rockford Police Department in January of 1972. Before adding to the history, a few items were not included in the original that should be added to it.

Early in 1968, the police department started Operation Chec-Mate. This was one of the early 'public involvement' programs. People of the community were urged to sign up through the Chamber of Commerce, and were given a Chec-Mate number. If they saw a crime-in-progress or had other information that would aid the police, all they had to do was to call the police and give their number to whoever took the call. The number was kept on file at the Chamber of Commerce; the Chiefs of Police in the area and the Sheriff also had the numbers which they kept on file. These numbers are not accessible to the officers, thus giving the person anonymity. If it was necessary for the prosecution of the case, the person could be contacted to see if they would be willing to testify. Though still being used, new members are not being accepted.

In June of 1969, the Department was hooked up to the National Crime Information Center (N.C.I.C.). We were then able to check almost immediately to see if an individual was wanted any place in the country; we could also check serial numbers to see if the property was reported stolen.

In May of 1970, the Illinois Department of Public Safety established the Illinois State Police Emergency Radio Network (I.S.P.E.R.N.). With the implementation of this radio network, it became possible for all of our police vehicles to be in contact with any other police vehicle in the State that was within range of their radio. Each State Police District had a base station and was able to put out messages to all police units in their district. This makes it possible to put information out over the air in the area of a crime-in-progress much faster than the local police agency contacting several area police agencies and giving them the information to put out. In 1981, the I.S.P.E.R.N. system was expanded and is now included in most of the fifty states.

On May 31, 1972, Officers Charles Williams and David Henrekin were working together on the west side. In the early evening hours, they were sent to the 100 block of Forest in reference to some suspicious persons. The complainant at that location told the officers that earlier in the day, three black male subjects were observed going into the alley. Once in the alley, one of the subjects went into a garage and appeared to be handing a gun out to the other two subjects. While they were talking to the complainant, a report of an armed robbery was broadcast on the radio that had just occurred at Lantow's Drug Store on Seventh Street. After hearing the description of the suspects, the officers felt there could be a connection between the armed robbery and the suspects that had been observed earlier in the day in the alley.

As the officers were looking for a place to park their squad car so they could observe the area, they spotted a car matching the description of the vehicle used in the armed robbery. Officer Henrekin reported that they stopped the car, and as Officer Williams went toward the car, he (Henrekin) started to get out of the squad car and at the same time call in on the radio to call the stop in. Officer Henrekin said he looked up and saw that the suspect had a gun pointed at Officer Williams and heard the suspect to tell the officers to freeze. Henrekin ducked down behind the car door and Officer Williams started to edge away from the suspect when Officer Henrekin heard a shot and looked up to see that Officer Williams had been shot. Officer Henrekin stated that he returned fire at the suspect; however, the suspect got away.

Up to two hundred law enforcement officers then took part in a massive manhunt. Within two hours of the shooting, Leon West was in custody and subsequently charged. Just after midnight on June 1, 1972, Officer Charles Williams became the first Rockford police officer to lose his life in the line of duty in forty-five years. After being convicted of the crime, Leon West was sentenced to one hundred to one hundred and fifty years in prison.

Another program aimed at involving citizens began in January of 1973. This was the 'Ride-Along Program'. Citizens could come to the police department and sign up to ride with an officer for four hours in order to observe just what is involved in the job of a police officer. The Chamber of Commerce frequently makes use of the program by having their members of various committees working in the community ride with the police in order to better understand the role of the police officer. The Rockford School system frequently uses the program in the Driver's Education classes as well as their civics classes.

The Identification Section began in April of 1973 with Sergeant Beishir and seven detectives. Before that time, there was only a three-man unit under the supervision of the Services Bureau Sergeant. The Unit only covered major-type crimes in a supporting role and worked eight to sixteen hours on weekdays, with call-back on weekends. When the Identification Section was set up, the hours were set at 6:30 A.M. to 4:00 A.M., covering twenty-one-and-a-half hours a day, seven days a week. With more training, the I.D. Section personnel began covering any type of police case where their special talents could be used. Identification Section personnel have completely solved or contributed to the solving of many major cases. Today, our I.D. Section is known state-wide for their expertise in fingerprint work and other crime scene work.

In the early 1970's, Father William Wentink spent a great deal of his spare time riding with officers of the police department. After a time, he became the unofficial chaplain of the police department. In May of 1974, the Police Chaplain's Program began. Under this program, Father Wentink was named Department Chaplain. He was to be available to officers and their families requesting consultation and guidance. He was also to be available to notify the families of any officer who was seriously injured in the line of duty.

Along with the Chaplain, several Assistant Chaplains were named; they take turns being the Duty Chaplain. They were available twenty-four hours a day at the request of police officers to assist them with any call they might have where the services of a clergyman might be needed. They are frequently used in the notification of a family in a case of a death or where someone is seriously injured such as in an automobile accident. At times when officers are sent to family trouble calls and the officer feels that a clergyman may be able to help in counseling, they will call for the Duty Chaplain. Frequently, the chaplains are called upon to assist citizens who are in need. It may be a local family that has no money and are in need of food, or it could be a family that is passing through Rockford and is without funds and have no one to turn to. All of the Chaplains are ordained or licensed and working full-time in a church or a church-related activity.

In 1971, a lawsuit was filed challenging the 'height requirement' of the Rockford Police Department. After several hearing on the matter, the height restrictions were removed in July of 1974. During this same time period, the City of Rockford was criticized for not having sufficient numbers of minority employees.

Up until October of 1974, women officers were assigned to the Detective Bureau or the Youth Division. At this time, they were designated detectives, thus becoming the first women detectives. In March of 1975, the Police Department hired their first woman patrol officers. For the first time, the female officers started out working the beat and other assignment, the same as male officers.

Prior to 1975, the Youth Bureau was a division of the Detective Bureau. In May of 1975, Lieutenant Harold Peterson was promoted to Captain, and the status of the Division was changed to the Youth and Community Services Bureau.

Early in 1975, the Crime Prevention Section was formed under the command of the Youth and Community Services Bureau. The Section was headed by Sergeant Richard Talimadge. The mission of the Crime Prevention Section was to inform the citizens of Rockford of methods and procedures to reduce criminal opportunity against their person, home, business, and neighborhood possessions. They are available to meet with businesses and neighborhood groups to give them suggests on how to make their homes and businesses more secure. One of the valuable programs that they have started was Operation Identification. This program would have the citizen check out an engraving pen to engrave his valuables, such as television sets, bicycles, and other property with the owner's driver's license number. In this way, if the property were stolen, it would be much easier to identify recovered property. Another program well received by the public is a film entitled How to Say No to a Rapist and Survive. This film is shown to women's groups and is followed by a discussion by one of the Crime Prevention officers.

As the needs of the city and the police department change, it was decided to change the structure of the Patrol Bureau in an effort to better meet the needs of the city. The Task Force was eliminated, and the Patrol Bureau was divided into fourteen sections. Under this concept, three sections were assigned to the Night Shift, four to the Afternoon Shift, four to the Day Shift, and three to a Cover Shift to work the hours formerly worked by the Task Force. It was also necessary to eliminate the Shift concept as it was known in that the officers rotated their shifts in a different manner than the supervisors.

After about one year, it was decided to go back to the Shift concept. The sections were split among the three sets of supervisors. In order to maintain additional coverage during the peak crime hours, part of the Night Shift and part of the Afternoon Shift were then assigned to work the Cover Shift.

For several years, plans were made for a new police station. Finally, during 1976, the plans were becoming a reality as the new Public Safety Building was nearing completion. In January of 1977, the Rockford Police Department and the Winnebago County Sheriff 's Department were scheduled to move to their new quarters.

In January of 1977, the Rockford Police Department moved from its home of over seventy years at 126 South First Street to its new home which it shares with the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department at 420 West State Street. Also occupying space in the new facility is the Winnebago County Coroner's Office, Civil Defense, and the Illinois State Crime Lab.

When the Rockford Police Department moved to our new quarters, we were able to do away with our jail and all of our prisoners were then taken directly to the County Jail. With the Police Department and the Sheriffs Department sharing space in the same building, we were able to also combine some of our operations. The Records Bureau, Communications Center, Vehicle Maintenance Sections, and the Photo Lab were combined and placed under the direction of a Public Safety Building Administrator. The Administrator works with the Chief of Police and the Sheriff. As originally set up, one year the Chief of Police would have control of the Communications Center and the Sheriff would have control of the Records Section; this was to rotate yearly.

To help the combined operations to run more smoothly, a Public Safety Governing Board was established. The Board is made up of two members of the City Council, two members of the County Board, and two members of the community at-large. The Building Administrator reports to the Governing Board and is administratively responsible for the Communications and Records Section, and has complete responsibility for the Maintenance Garage and Photo Lab. He is also responsible for the maintenance of the building.

After a thorough study was completed, the Police Department turned over the ambulance in February of 1977 to the Fire Department. With the growth of the city and the increased calls for the use of the ambulance, it was decided the Fire Department could better serve the community by placing an ambulance on each side of the river. They could then staff the ambulance with paramedics. This then upgraded the service to the community and ended one of the traditions of the police department. No more would the young rookie walking the beat have to be constantly available to go with the ambulance.

The S.W.A.T. Unit of the Rockford Police Department was formed in March of 1977. Terrorist activities were on the increase nationwide and locally, we had a few incidents where the use of a specially trained unit would have been of service to the Department. The Unit was headed by Lieutenant Stanton Stone and made up of four teams. Each team consists of a sergeant and four officers. The officers assigned are all volunteers and are required to maintain a high level of physical fitness. Each team spends one day a month training together as a team. Other than that, they work their regular work assignment unless they are called out. By having a well-trained S.W.A.T. Team, we have officers that can work well together, and in highly dangerous situations are better able to diffuse an explosive situation.

The Victim/Witness assistance Unit of the Rockford Police Department is under the auspices of the Youth and Community Services Bureau. On October 1, 1979, the Unit Staff was accepted as City of Rockford employees after being funded by C.E.T.A. since October 20, 1977. Assisted is provided to victims and witnesses of crime, and to individuals who have become involved with the police department as a result of non-criminal matters or who are referred to this Unit by an outside agency.

Services provided by the Victim/Witness Assistance Unit include information regarding the criminal justice system and its procedures, emotional support, information about and referral to other agencies, assistance in signing a complaint and filing for Crime Victims' Compensation, transportation, intervention in retrieving property and receiving restitution, and investigation and assessment of referral cases. When this Unit becomes aware of a citizen with a need, every effort is made to assure that the need is met through proper assessment, referral, and follow-up.

Referrals to the Victim/Witness Assistance Unit from criminal justice agencies have come from all the Bureaus of the Rockford Police Department, Associate Circuit judges, the Sheriffs Department, the States Attorney's Office, the Adult Probation and Parole Offices, the City Attorney's Office, the Coroner's Office, and the P.S.B. Records Bureau and Communication Center. Officers' reports are checked regularly for individuals who may need the services of this Unit.

During the late 1970's, stress was found to be an increasing problem, and although we had a Department Chaplain, he was not always available; the need for an officer to assist was more and more apparent. The Personal Services Officer position was established in November of 1978. His duties were to serve the personal, family, and emotional problems of the sworn and non-sworn employees and their families. He also assisted the retirees and their families. The Personal Services Officer is a liaison with the Chaplain's Division.

With crime on the increase, the need to have someone assigned specifically to review reports was becoming more critical. In April of 1979, the Crime Analysis Unit was formed. A detective and a patrol officer were assigned to the Unit; it was their responsibility to comb through all of the reports, looking for similarities and 'M.0s'of crimes, to log and file information that may be of use in the future, and also to link and solve past crimes. They also maintain spot maps in an attempt to establish trends and patterns of crimes. When a trend is established, the notify the Detective Bureau and the Patrol Bureau so that added patrol or surveillance can be implemented. Over the years, this has proved to be a most helpful tool resulting in the arrests of suspects and solving of numerous crimes.

On Christmas Eve of 1979, the Communications Center went 'on line' with our new C.A.D. (Computerized Dispatching System) system. This eliminated the need for the radio operator or complaint-takers to fill out an IBM-type card and fill in the information. Each one now had a keyboard in front of them and they could just type in the information. This also maintains the information within the computer for future recall. The computer also sorts calls by priority so that the most important calls get dispatched first without a radio operator having to sort through the IBM cards or having a card get misplaced. The operator also has the ability to punch a couple of keys and find out what cars in their areas are free. A computer terminal is also located in the Patrol Bureau Shift Commander's Office and also in the Detective Bureau. In this way, it is possible for the Shift Commander or Detective Bureau Supervisor to also check on the status of their officers. It is also an important tool in the answering of citizens' complaints.

Crime-Stoppers is the latest citizen involvement program undertaken by the Department. In cooperation with other area law enforcement agencies, the Chamber of Commerce, and the local news media, the program began in late 1980. Each week a different crime is re-enacted on television with the basic facts of the case given. The facts are also put out on the radio stations. Anyone with information about this crime or any other major crime is encouraged to call Crime-Stoppers. The Crime-Stoppers then awards rewards for the apprehension and conviction for these crimes. Money for the rewards is donated by local businesses.

Another new unit established by the Rockford Police Department was the Arson Unit. In January of 1980, along with the Rockford Fire Department, the Arson Unit was formed. This consisted of a detective from the Police Department and a fire inspector from the Fire Department. In this way, we had the expertise of both the Fire and Police Departments working together.

With the shortage of manpower due to budget cuts, it was necessary to find ways to cut down expenses and improve police service. Too many calls were coming in that did not require two officers. In July of 1980, the Department went to one-man cars. In this way, we were able to have twice as many cars on the street at any given time. If a call came in with the need for two or more officers, additional units were assigned. Also, if one of the squads stopped a car, one of the nearby units are expected to go over and cover for the officer.

At the present time (May 1983), the Rockford Police Department has two hundred and fifty-five sworn officers and twenty-three non-sworn employees. Since the 1870's when we got our first horse-drawn wagon, we have grown to a fleet of one hundred and six vehicles.

Education is becoming more and more important, and we now have eighty-two officers with some college, seventy officers with Associate's Degrees, eighteen with Bachelor's Degrees, and four with a Master's Degree. Several of our officers are also pursuing their degrees.

As well as the officers pursuing their own education, the Department is not sitting idle as we are constantly sending officers to various specialty schools. We send officers to courses at the F.B.I. Academy, Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville, the Traffic Institute at Northwestern University, Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois, and several other special schools. During March and April of 1982, we held a one-week in-service training program for all officers of the rank of sergeant and below. This is expected to be a yearly program.

Over the years, the Rockford Police Department has assisted colleges by taking on interns who are pursuing degrees in the criminal justice system.

In the near future, the Department will be replacing sworn officers assigned to duties inside with civilians so the officers can be returned to street duties. The first civilian positions will be in Crime Analysis and Evidence and Property Control. Other areas of the Department are being studied with the hopes of having civilian personnel replace officers so that more officers can be returned to the street, cutting the need to hire additional officers.

Over the years, the Rockford Police Department has undergone changes to adjust to the times and will continue to do so in the future.