ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Forest City is in need of a new top cop. Chief Dan O’Shea tells us he hopes he has highlighted the importance of community involvement throughout the department.
From the beginning of his tenure five years ago, Chief O’Shea has preached the importance of the department being involved in the community. That’s why he believes crime dropped in Rockford–before the pandemic.
“The next chief needs to continue doing the right thing for the City of Rockford,” Chief O’Shea said.
The ‘right thing’ in O’Shea’s eyes is having the department more involved in the community.
“In 2016 we kicked into high gear on the community engagement, just full-fledged,” the chief said.
Basketball games to lip sync battles have provided O’Shea with some of his favorite memories on the force.
“I can’t stop smiling when I see little kids high fiving the police, outside schools or just any of the events, or kids coming up hugging you,” he said.
But with highs come lows.
“The worst moment in my absolute 32 years of police career was losing Jamie Cox,” said O’Shea.
Early on, in 2016 he helped created several programs for kids, the community, and police officers to form relationships.
“It’s not me, it’s the people that work here that I’ve used, cultivated, and worked with for the five years. I think that’s what the greatest success is we built a strong inside our house and we’ve taken that and pushed it out into the community,” said Chief O’Shea.
“I’m very hopeful for 2021, the officers going back out and engaging the community, and that, in turn, will drive down the crime.”
His advise for the next chief is simple:
“Leading the police organization in a very diverse community, in a very diverse police department gots challenges, no doubt, but the next leader has to be someone who has broad breadth knowledge of all facets of policing, and they have to be someone who firmly believes and will push what I’ve been pushing for five years, getting involved in the community.”
Looking towards the future, Chief O’Shea believes the new chief could be found from the command team here in Rockford.