I rarely talk about my hometown on the blog, but the negotiations occurring between the police union and the city of Rockford have compelled me to post this blog.
The city of Rockford is considering implementing a geo-policing model where instead of one centralized police station, there will be several spread throughout the city.
The police union argues that there are not enough officers to cover the switch to a geo-policing model. Most controversially, the police union is requesting $100 dollars in hazard pay for working on the west side of the city, a higher crime area.
Rockford has a lengthy history of racial tensions, including a discrimination lawsuit, and a series of police shootings where white officers shot black suspects. Having hazard pay for officers who work the west side—where the majority of African Americans live is not going to help matters.
While I agree that the department is under-staffed, I’m insulted by the notion of hazard pay for officers just because the area they work has more crime.
I live on the west side of Rockford 24-7 and nobody offers me money for living there. If I made such a demand, people would think I suffered a blow to the head.
Police officers swore to protect the citizens of Rockford regardless of geography or skin color.
I suggest they focus on the very real issue of staffing within the ranks of the police force, rather than hazard pay for their undersized department.