Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara released a statement on Monday following the death of officer Jaimie Cox, killed in the line of duty early Sunday morning.
In the statement, Mayor McNamara offers his condolences while addressing his anger towards the violence in Rockford. His statement, in full, is below.
As you know, early Sunday morning was one of the darkest days in our community’s recent history. We lost a member of our police family as Officer Jaimie Cox was killed during a traffic stop. Officer Cox was a loving and caring husband and son. My heart is heavy for the pain now being felt by his family, friends and fellow officers.
Officer Cox attended Hononegah High School, and went on to serve our country in the military. He continued a life of service above self, serving as a member of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division before joining our police department less than a year ago.
To honor Jaimie’s service we have positioned our flags at half-staff all week. I have also ordered that all lights on City Hall and the Morgan Street Bridge be blue-lighted this week to show our appreciation for his service.
I am saddened by Officer Cox’s death, but I am also angry. Angry that we continue to struggle with violence in our community. Angry that our residents don’t feel safe in their neighborhoods. And, I am most angered by those who think they can terrorize our community by harming our most dedicated and bravest young people. This must stop.
Like any metropolitan city challenged by crime and other complex societal issues, there is no simple fix. We are working closely with Police Chief Dan O’Shea and his team and know that we must keep our focus on the big picture. We are facing a challenge that did not come about overnight and will not be solved overnight.
I want to reassure our residents that the City has not made any cuts to our police department, and we have no intention of doing so in the future. We have directed in excess of an additional million dollars into our Police Department to support our officers and are working to reach our authorized force of 297 officers. Public safety is my top priority along with that of City Council. As we discuss our budget I have made it clear that public safety should not be cut to fill our budget void.
The outpouring of support from the community to Officer Cox’s family, friends and the Rockford Police Department has been overwhelming. We are a community that takes care of our people. Now, we must honor the sacrifice of Officer Cox by coming together to make our city safer. By knowing our neighbors. By working with the police to help them do their job. By restoring and honoring the work our officers do. And by saying something when we see something. We all have that responsibility to honor Officer Cox in this way.
Officer Jaimie Cox was a brave young officer who put his life on the line so all of us could live in a safer community. His fellow officers accompany him to do this every day, even on the most difficult of days such as yesterday. I continue to be humbled not only by the service of our officers but by the dedication of each officer’s family to our community. We are a stronger community because of their commitment and dedication to all of us.