Letter to the editor:
I have had a question asked a few times regarding the proposed joint law enforcement facility for Winnebago County. The question was, “how do you think the police and sheriff’s departments will get along with each other if they share a facility?” The perception of the parties asking the question was that 20 years ago when the two agencies shared the current law enforcement center there were problems. Actually the two agencies worked very well together and were more efficient in some ways because of the shared arrangement. Historically the departments have always worked together almost daily. Officers routinely provide backup for each other on calls when needed. When I started working for the Forest City Police Department in 1971, we had offices and a jail in the lower level of city hall. For about 5 years we provided a jail for the county deputies to use. They would use our offices in the evening and nights and weekends when the Sheriff’s office at the courthouse was closed. In 1976, Forest City sold the old hospital to Winnebago County to convert into a joint Law Enforcement Center. That arrangement worked very well and lasted till about 1996 when the Police Department moved to the North 4th Street Station for one reason, much needed space. While at the North 4th street Station, we shared a large training room and kitchen with the Sheriff’s office for meetings and training, we also constructed a garage facility with a fitness/weight training room which we continue to share with the Sheriffs employees. In October 2011 when the police station was severely damaged by fire, we temporarily moved back to the Law Enforcement center till suitable space could be found. Now we look forward to a better more efficient building shared with the county. The county law enforcement building committee has done a great job of sorting out all the facts and information related to this issue in order to give both agencies and the citizens the best possible facility at an affordable cost. Please attend the town meetings, listen, ask questions and vote yes on March 4th.
Daniel Davis, Chief of Police