By BETH ALTENA For all we knew, our building was about to go. In the early afternoon on Tuesday, August 11, the lower level of the Squire Newspaper office filled with smoke. It smelled like an electrical fire, but the staff couldn’t identify the source. It was frightening, and the staff made the right call, the Rockford Department of Public Safety. For years we have written about the success of the combination of departments of police, fire and public works, and the quick and impressive response at the Squire during an actually emergency was proof the new system, which saves taxpayers a half million dollars a year, also provides and even better response than traditional departments. Chief Jones was there immediately and in four minutes there were three fire trucks and numerous emergency vehicles at our location. We were advised to evacuate and waited outside as fully-prepared first responders entered the building with their gear and accessories to look for hot spots in our walls, search the property where the smoke and smell was located and otherwise protect our property. You could see from the attendance that responders were from all of the combined departments. The fire fighters on the scene were the same people we just photographed preparing an emergency response in the case of an active shooter in a public school building. The people we saw in Rockford t-shirts are the Department of Public Works employees, now seasoned firefighters as well, who dropped their work on our city grounds and other duties to respond to a fire threat.’ “You wouldn’t see a response like this in even a big city,” Chief Dave Jones said. Jones noted that he was nearby and able to reach our location quickly. Officer Robinson was also close and everyone else was ready to respond if our fire had progressed. In addition to Chief Jones, who started his career as Chief of Police, and now leads the combined departments, we had Fire Marshall Mike Reus, who annually inspects buildings in Rockford to watch for dangerous practices (he found a gas-operated piece of equipment in our office dangerously stored next to the furnace one year). Newly trained Arson Inspector Jason Bradley was able to try out his new skills (we […]
Rockford Police Department
DNR wants to relocate animal The Rockford Police Department urges residents not to approach a bear that has been spotted on the grounds of Blythefield Golf Course at Northland Drive and West River Drive. According to a report, the Kent County Sheriff’s Department and DNR are checking the area after the confirmed sighting of a black bear. It was last seen at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 17. The police ask residents to call 911 if they see the bear. Do not approach the bear. The DNR wants to relocate the bear to a safer location.
The Rockford Police Department reminds homeowners to keep homes and garages securely locked and valuables safely stored after three daytime home invasions occurred Thursday, Dec. 8. The incidents occurred in the 5100 block of Egypt Valley NE, the 10800 block of 3 Mile Road NE, and the 6600 block of Blakely Drive NE. Each home was broke into while residents were not home between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Electronics, guns, cash and jewelry were stolen from the residences. Police advise to always keep doors and windows locked, including garage doors. Keep guns and high-end valuables secured in a safe. Report any suspicious persons/vehicles. Beware of and report any persons who come to your house asking for directions or who claim to be lost. If possible, obtain a license plate number of any suspicious vehicles. Residents who have any information about these crimes are asked to contact the Kent County Sheriff’s Department at (616) 632-6100.
The Rockford Police Department would like to remind residents to lock their car doors and remove all valuables from their vehicles overnight. By locking doors and removing valuables from vehicles, residents reduce the chances of becoming a victim. The police also ask residents to report suspicious activity in their neighborhood to the Rockford Police Department immediately by calling (616) 866-9557.
Hillview Townhouses recognized by police department Children play at a picnic held in honor of Hillview Townhouses’ Thousand Eyes Award in honor of completing a crime-free gold certificate program. by BETH ALTENA Suzanne Hewitt remembers her very first day at Hillview Townhouses, a housing complex in Rockford. “The bus came and the school children got off and several of them lit up cigarettes and started smoking. I thought to myself, ‘You’ve got your work cut out for you.’” That was 15 years ago and today Hillview Townhouses is a nearly crime-free zone, with residents who are quiet and respectful of their neighbors and who know that there is a zero-tolerance policy on illegal drugs. It is a safe, friendly place to live with a large green area, playground and pavilion where families play and have picnics. Many of the residents of the 135-unit complex continue to live there in their old age. Hewitt is proud that it is a place where the young and elderly can feel safe. “I think it is something we are all called on to do—take care of the elderly and children“ she said. On Monday, July 11, the complex and Hewitt in particular were recognized by the Rockford Police Department, including Chief Dave Jones and Program Coordinator Officer Ian Graham, for successful completion in a program designed with safety in mind. Hewitt said she had been working to make the housing complex a crime-free zone when she was approached by Officer Mike Miller about taking some training classes along those same lines. “They were full days of training, learning about how to be a crime-free property, and we were further ahead already because we had already done a lot of that work,” Hewitt said. Simple steps like making sure lighting is adequate and shrubs are managed—to make sure they don’t offer hiding places for those interested in lurking—were steps Hewitt had accomplished on her own. Having very few spots that might appeal to a criminal were commonsense steps employed. With the department partnering with the complex to prevent as well as deal with crime, Hewlett feels the level of safety has reached a new height. “They […]