ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea has announced he will retire on April 30th.
“I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in this community over the last five years,” O’Shea said in a statement. “My goal when I came to Rockford in 2016 was to focus on building relationships while reducing crime. We are doing that. We are making an incredible and tangible impact with our ROCK Houses and our programs for the area’s youth, and I know that will continue after my retirement.”
“Chief O’Shea has done an incredible job tackling violent crime in our City; building relationships within the police department, with the unions and across the community; and training the future leaders of the department,” said Mayor Tom McNamara. “The Chief should be commended for the progress he made throughout his tenure.”
O’Shea has served as Police Chief in Rockford since 2016.
According to the City of Rockford, violent crime has decreased by 15.7% during his tenure. This includes a decrease in property crime, aggravated assaults, robberies, and auto thefts.
Mayor Tom McNamara says his impact extends far beyond his success in reducing violent crime.
“Bringing about the co-responder model in how we handle mental health crisis calls, if it’s investing in domestic violence and human trafficking prevention work, or investing in our youth in programs like Camp Hope- I think he’s done a great job,” Mayor McNamara said.
Rockford Park District Police Chief Theo Glover has worked alongside Chief O’Shea since he started in Rockford. He believes finding a replacement will be a tall order.
“‘He’s done an excellent job in bringing back the morale that was really severed for while. So he brought back cohesiveness,” Chief Glover said.
O’Shea’s decision to retire comes shortly after Fire Chief Derek Bergsten announced he is leaving for a new job in May. While it is unlikely a national search will be conducted in both cases, the mayor believes the best people for the job may already be working in the Forest City.
“We easily could choose two, three, or four different candidates in the Rockford Police Department right now and I don’t think we’d miss a beat. And I think that’d be a testament to Chief O’Shea,” explained McNamara.
Glover hopes whoever is named as O’Shea’s successor shares his dedication to community policing.
“We have to keep that momentum going because the relationship that we establish with the community only makes that community much better,” said Glover.
The Board of Fire and Police Commissioners will begin the process to hire a new chief.