Saturday, December 28, 2013
RRSTAR.COM FILE PHOTO
Rockford and Winnebago County must do more to engage business CEOs and the private sector to solve community problems like crime, joblessness and low educational attainment, County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen (left) and Mayor Larry Morrissey told business leaders during a coffee talk Tuesday, July 30, 2013, hosted by Rockford Area Economic Development Council.
Our crime problems affect certain areas and certain populations much more than others.
On Thursday, Dec. 19, the city and county came together to expand our efforts to keep our people safe. Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen, Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey, State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato, Rockford police Chief Chet Epperson, Loves Park Mayor Darryl Lindberg, Loves Park police Chief Jim Puckett, and Sheriff Dick Meyers joined together to describe the joint efforts underlying the Winnebago County Violent Crime Task Force.
We’re committed to a long-term partnership, and we’ve already begun to see positive results.
The partnership includes the Illinois State Police and Department of Corrections, which will assist in investigations, patrol and parolee monitoring; additional support from numerous federal law enforcement agencies; and in coordination with the state’s attorney and U.S. attorney to pursue effective prosecutions. Together, we will update and review our goals and objectives and report our results at least quarterly in an open, accountable, and collaborative manner.
During 2013, two Public Safety Summits addressed “Crime Prevention through Cooperative Policing and Best Practices” and “Behavioral Health and the Criminal Justice System: Issues and Solutions.” Post-summit action plans have included the development of a 211 call center, Text-a-Tip, a joint city/county re-entry program in cooperation with United Way and Lutheran Social Services, and a city and county “Stop-Walk-Knock-Talk” program to build relationships between residents and the law enforcement community.
In economic development, recent infrastructure improvements include the opening of the Morgan Street bridge and completing utility access for the Rock 39 Industrial Park. The under-construction Woodward facility will ultimately provide 1,500 jobs for the community.
In the coming year, the city and county will continue to work together to bring passenger rail service from Chicago, to improve freight-rail opportunities, and to rebuild South Main and West State streets. We support the Reclaiming First Initiative, as well as a hotel and conference center in the downtown Amerock building.
We’re committed to finding solutions for failed public housing efforts. The Winnebago County Housing Authority and Rockford Housing Authority are pursuing successful models similar to those of Hope VI and Purpose-Built Communities.
Read more at the Rockford Register Star online: http://www.rrstar.com/article/20131228/OPINION/131229642#ixzz2pGxlS5hi