Finalists announced for Rockford Fire and Police chiefs

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The finalists have been announced for Rockford’s Fire and Police Chiefs.

The Rockford Police and Fire Commission released a list of names on Thursday morning.

For Police Chief, the candidates are:

  • Larry Lapp – Retired Deputy Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigations – Chicago Office
  • Jonathan Lewin – Senior Public Safety Advisory, First Responder Network Authority
  • Carla Redd-Miller – Assistant Deputy Chief, Rockford Police Department
  • Kurt Whisenand – Deputy Chief, Rockford Police Department

For Fire Chief, the candidates are:

  • Trent Brass – Captain, Rockford Fire Department
  • Kyle Hill – Captain, Rockford Fire Department
  • Matthew Knott – Division Chief of Administration and Fire Prevention, Rockford Fire Department
  • Michele Pankow – Division Chief of Operations, Rockford Fire Department

“We’re looking for people that can respond on a professional and tactical manner, so if they get the job this is what we expect them to be able to respond to and do it very professionally and effectively,” said Sam Schmitz with the Police and Fire Commission.

The board has hired an external company, called IOS Solutions, to help with the process.

Each candidate has been evaluated using a scoring system based off their qualifications, experience, and training.

Interim chiefs are currently running both departments. Police Chief Dan O’Shea retired in April.
Fire Chief Derek Bergsten is now leading a department in Colorado.

Interim Rockford Police Chief Randy Berke says he hopes the new chief will have great leadership skills, “someone who is community oriented. I mean, at the end of the day, we’re working with the citizens, along with the community members, our business leaders, to make Rockford as safe as we can.”

Interim Rockford Fire Chief Todd Stockburger says he’s honored that all of the fire chief candidates currently work for the Rockford Fire Department.

“All four are outstanding individuals. They bring a lot to the table. They bring a lot of skills, and Rockford Fire is well positioned to move forward with this process, and whoever is selected will do a great job,” he said.

Rockford city officials announced dates for upcoming question and answer sessions with candidates who could become the city’s next police and fire chiefs.

The sessions are meant for the candidates to introduce themselves to the community, by discussing their backgrounds and goals.

Police applicants will speak on July 28th, and fire department candidates will have the floor on August 4th.

Each session will be held virtually, online, and will begin at 5 p.m.

Questions can be emailed in advance:

Fire Chief:
Police Chief:

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