Editor’s note: The following letter was given to Rockford Ald. Doug Mark (R-3), Rockford Mayor Lawrence J. Morrissey (I) and Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson at the Aug. 3 Rockford City Council meeting.
DATE: Aug. 3, 2009
TO: Alderman Doug Mark
Rockford City Council
Mayor Lawrence J. Morrissey Chief Chet Epperson
RE: Homeless people and the loitering problem in the River District, specifically in the 400 and 300 block of Mulberry Street.
After many calls to the non-emergency number of the 911 center, after the arrests of two people who threatened myself or my employees, and the ticketing of a person for public urination in the 400 block of Mulberry Street, I have a compliment to offer.
The Rockford Police Department has done a fine job of responding to all of these calls, despite the heavy call load at the 911 center. Mayor Morrissey, Doug Mark and specifically Chief Epperson have responded in a very extensive manner: with more bike cops, more frequent squad visits, and the address of specific areas where the homeless or indigent gather. Chief Epperson even came to our neighborhood and talked personally to all the business owners who have been affected by the new crop of homeless people brought in from God knows where. Thank you, Mr. Mayor, Alderman Mark and Chief Epperson!
However, the real and long-term solution to this problem rests in the expansion of the personal approach taken by the chief. We need two to three sets of officers we really know in our neighborhood, and I think many business owners would echo that request. A personal relationship between the people and businesses on the street and these officers would solve many problems of a transient nature. Yes, I’m requesting beat cops. A policeman walking the beat in a neighborhood would know all the characters (including myself) affecting the quality of a neighborhood, and such a program would promote good service and good will for the police department in the community. A squad car parked on Mulberry with an officer walking the area would be a massive and consistent deterrent to crime, panhandling, and the hanging out that damages many businesses’ operations and wherewithal, and not to mention the image of our “new Main Street” being born in the River District. Please give us some beat cops! We love ’em!
Editor and Publisher, The Rock River Times
from the August 5 – 11, 2009 issue