The city of Rockford and Winnebago County are working together to bring more efficiency to the juvenile probation process.
An approved decision by both the city and county will now have a sheriff’s deputy be reassigned to the Juvenile Detention Center Monday June 12th. It’s a role that fell victim to budget cuts two years ago.
“It will give them a chance to bring the juvenile to a central location, get family members and guardians a central location to meet to talk to juvenile probation,” said Winnebago County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Don Gasparini Jr.
The new position was made possible thanks to 75 thousand dollars from the city, which it will provide every year. The job will be to aid in the evaluation process, deciding whether a juvenile should stay at the center or be given back to a guardian.
“They will take custody of the juvenile and do any kind of processing, fingerprinting, photographing, and kind of be a liaison to juvenile probation,” said Gasparini.
Without an assigned deputy, the process would take officers off the streets while processing a juvenile. Gasparini says now officers can just drop them off and get back on patrol.
“This gives us the opportunity to bring the juvenile to the deputy who is located within the Juvenile Justice Center and that deputy would do the processing while the other deputies and officers from other jurisdictions can get back out on the street and fight the crime,” he added.
County Board Chairman Frank Haney says the partnership with the sheriff’s office and Rockford Police is a step to making the county a safer region.
“Here we are and the city is running a projected deficit, the county is running a projected deficit,” said Haney. “The idea that after years in the past of having an informal agreement that we would formalize something after a couple year break just makes sense,” he added.
The position that will be filled is separate from the recent controversy over the county board paying for new positions requested by Chief Judge Joe McGraw. McGraw argues he needs the positions for court ordered mandates. County board members voted Thursday night to deny the funding.