To the Editor: Cops vs. Trees

January 12, 2011

I don’t know of anyone who likes trees more than I do. I think trees are beautiful, as well as beneficial. The City of Rockford spends an awful lot of money to plant trees, and it’s not that we’re in short supply of them, it just seems the City Fathers, for some reason, think there’s just not enough of them.

Well, to me, that’s fine, but for the life of me, I don’t know where the money comes from to plant so many trees. I mean, it’s not like we live in the desert and need more trees. And come to think of it, why is there enough money to plan a roundabout at Auburn and Main? And I’ll be darned, to move the Helping Hands statue to another spot because it’s decided it should be relocated boggles my mind. I wonder how much it costs to do that? Hmmm… Maybe I really don’t want to know.

In the meantime, our Police Department is going through a dilemma within the force. Officers’ jobs are at stake here. The city can afford trees but can’t afford to protect its citizens? We can’t afford to let a single officer go because there aren’t enough funds to keep them all? How embarrassing is that for the community, I ask.

What we need are more officers for a city this size. What are our City Fathers thinking? What the community is going to do with a reduced police force is anyone’s guess. There are only 286 officers on patrol on any given 24-hour day. Divide that by three (because there’s three shifts), and you get… let’s see… by my calculations, 95 officers on duty here in Rockford during any given shift. Unbelievable! And that’s for a city with a population of more than 150,000. Pretty scary!

With the gang problems we have here in our Fair City, and the unemployment funds discontinued, Lord only knows what we’re in for crime-wise. And think about the equipment the police force needs to function properly and safely. When I had my 8-hour ride-along two weeks ago, my officer’s computer went down hard, and he had to reboot it twice. What a waste of time for my officer…that means he had to re-enter the data he already logged in.

I say, get those funds to our much-needed Police Department and keep all of our officers on the job! If everyone would write to their alderman and to the mayor, we’d get results. It’s time to ACT NOW!

My last question is for Mr. Mayor. What will you do in an emergency? Wait in line for better service? What will you do, Mr. Alderman? Take a number for better service? Or will you call a tree

Alice Nichols

Rockford

From the Jan. 12-18, 2011 issue

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