Issues

Crime & Safety                              
  1. Expand Community Policing: Policing works best when our police thoroughly understand the communities in which they serve.  Chief Dan O'Shea is moving the Rockford Police Department on the right track in expanding community policing to improve safety on our streets.  Safer communities happen when our police officers know us and we know our officers.
     

  2. Increase Strong Houses in Neighborhoods: Another idea that must be expanded is the Strong Houses program led by the United Way.  To include a safe zone where residents can speak to a local authority about local crimes issues is a proven way to reduce crime.  As a city similar in size to Rockford, Elgin has shown decreased levels of crime in selected neighborhoods by implementing programs similar to the Strong Houses.
     

  3. Streetlights: One of the great mistakes of past mayoral administrations was to darken our city, instead of illuminating it.  No matter the funny figures that past administrations have invented, I know most citizens of the 2nd Ward, as well as myself, feel safer with more lights.  Our Rockford Police Department implores residents to keep their porch lights on to prevent crime- and as this is true, streetlights must indeed have a positive impact in our communities.  Lights near our bus stops, especially, prevent both crime and accidents.  LED streetlights, "smart" streetlights, alley lights-- there are boundless possibilities, and the only wrong answer is the inaction that has occurred over the past few years.  Let's get back to feeling safe in our own homes and communities and find an economical way to bring our neighborhood streetlights back.
     

  4. Implement C3 Policing (Counter Criminal Continuum Policing) in Rockford: Springfield, Massachusetts blazed a new trail in fighting crime.  An Army Special Forces veteran used his training and experience in Afghanistan to pilot a program that would win the hearts and minds of local Springfield residents who had lost trust in the police department.  Criminals don't run our neighborhoods and they won't run the 2nd Ward.  As we've seen in cities across America, when communities trust their police departments, crime decreases.  I will partner with the Rockford Police Department to ensure our community's police department is meeting the needs of our neighborhoods.
     

  5. Restructure Struggling Neighborhoods: In too many American cities and in too many neighborhoods in Rockford, certain neighborhoods have been deemed "bad" with no recourse for improvement.  Fine people who want the best for their families still live in these neighborhoods and public officials owe it to the public they serve to see that struggling neighborhoods get the resources and structure necessary to improve.  Some neighborhoods need more park space.  Others need less rental properties.  Let's be sensible in improving our neighborhoods to meet the needs of our citizens.
     

  6. Partner with Local Organizations: The 2nd Ward has a multitude of resources and organizations with which we can partner to better engage our community.  Engaged neighborhoods with engaged neighbors are prosperous neighborhoods.  When neighbors are organized into neighborhood associations, church organizations, and other various manners, communities are empowered and criminal activity moves out of the neighborhood.
     

  7. Implement a CitiWatch Community Program in Rockford: Baltimore, Maryland is another Rust Belt city that has struggled deeply with crime.  Yet as with any city seeking to transform itself, big and creative solutions are necessary.  Baltimore allowed any household who wanted to partner with the city in combating crime to allow their private security cameras to be accessed by the police department only in instances of criminal activity.  The program was completely voluntary, and in Rockford, citizens could join or leave the program whenever they wished.  Crime diminished in the period of time immediately after implementation further proving that the best deterrent to crime in a neighborhood is a concerned and vigilant neighbor.
     

  8. Better Identify and Engage Recidivist Criminals: Chicago, like Rockford, is an example of a city that struggles with recidivist criminals.  Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson commented in August 2016 that 85% of gun crimes are committed by 0.05% of Chicagoans.  Stockton, California came up with an innovative solution to combating their recidivist criminal issues by identifying and engaging them in their community outside of criminal activity.  With crime as pervasive as it is in Rockford, innovating and engaging solutions become necessary.
     

  9. Enforce Existing Gun Laws: Too many teenagers and young adults in Rockford are mishandling weapons.  Illinois already has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation and we must better empower the Rockford Police Department and the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department to go after illegal guns in the hands of felons.  Responsible gun owners are not the problem; illegally obtained weapons in the hands of criminals are one of the biggest fatal problems to families in Rockford.
     

  10. Expand Neighborhood Watch Programs: As the concerned and vigilant citizen is the best antidote to crime on a neighborhood street, let's work to empower and incentivize neighborhood watch programs.  By connecting with our neighbors, we can expand the capacity of our watch programs and work to decrease crime in our community.
     

  11. Partner with the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department to Expand Felon Re-training Programs: The old adage remains true: The best social program is a job.  Too often recidivism occurs because convicted criminals who have paid their debt to society cannot find gainful employment.  By investing resources into our county prison systems, we will realize fewer crimes and greater regional economic productivity when we have more trained workers in the workforce instead of marginalizing and re-committing our citizens to prison.  No strong regional economy was ever built on the was prison-industrial complex.