By Bob Balgemann


The city’s police and fire chiefs are continuing to give monthly updates on a wide variety of activities involving their departments during the previous 30 days.

Police Chief Shane Woody’s summary for the month of April contained 11 separate, brief reports. Among them were the selection of a veteran police officer to work with the Boone County Health Department on its sweeping opioid intervention program; status of acquiring body cams to be worn by police officers; a recent downtown bank robbery; canine Shep’s surgery; and an invitation for anyone interested in touring the police department building to call and make an appointment.

Officer Michelle Schwartz had been appointed to the grant-funded position at the health department.

“She will be working with the health department. to further our goal of opioid intervention,” he said. And to city council he said, “I want to thank the council for your support in this.”

Next step in that process will be hiring an entry-level officer to backfill the absence of Schwartz.

The county’s extensive battle against drug abuse and related issues is being funded by the $599,000 Comprehensive Opioid Stimulant and Substance Program (COSSAP) grant, which was awarded to the health department. There is another grant that’s part of the overall package, for $94,077, which is being used to cover all of the costs related to Schwartz and her part of the effort, except overtime.

Woody also reported canine Shep’s surgery on May 26 had been successful and that the dog was now recovering.

He also said four officers have put in to become the department’s new dog handler, replacing the now retired Officer Brandon Parker.

“The next step in that process will be interviewing each of those officers and then ultimately making our selection,” he explained.

That prompted Alderman Wendy Frank to ask if the successful officer would be working with Shep.

No, the chief replied, Shep already has a handler, Officer Zach Reese.

“So, do we need to buy a new dog?” she inquired.

“Yes, we will,” Woody answered.

“When will we be starting that?” she asked.

“That will depend on when FM K9 in Michigan has an opening for training,” he responded. “Currently, they have canines available but at this point, we don’t have a date for training.”

Previously, Woody said he would be appearing before council to discuss buying a second police dog to replace Frank Sinatra, better known as Frankie, who was sold to his handler, former officer Parker.

Body cams

When it came to the acquisition of body cams to be worn by officers, he said the department was informed that day that Panasonic had created the server city council purchased for $10,000. Next step will be to get the server to the technology department for installation. “Then we will go about sending one of our vehicles to Tri-City, to have equipment installed, and we’ll have an officer test that particular equipment to be sure everything is functioning.

“Once it’s functioning, we will equip the rest of our fleet in order to be using our body cams. Unfortunately, we will be at the mercy of Tri-City for scheduling all those vehicles and having the equipment installed.”

Alderman Marsha Freeman asked about the status of the grant for the body cams.

“That depends on when the state gets around to it,” he said. “We don’t have a hard date as to what to expect. We have put in for $33,000; they have accepted the application.”


At the beginning of his update, Woody reported on a robbery May 3 at Midland States Bank, 600 S. State St.

“Belvidere detectives worked with FBI Rockford and Rockford Police Department to identify a Rockford suspect about four days after the bank incident,” he related. “An arrest warrant and a search warrant were obtained for the suspect and the suspect’s home. They identified evidence in the suspect’s home that linked the suspect to our bank robbery and one in Rockford.”

He added, “My understanding according to the U.S. attorney is we will be seeing an indictment of this suspect for the Belvidere robbery tomorrow (May 25).”

Belvidere detectives also handled the robbery of an elderly man in the 600 block of West Lincoln Avenue, the chief continued. Investigation by detectives, he said, led to four suspects being arrested, three from Rockford and one from Moline, all for the offense of robbery.”

There was another robbery, this one March 9 at Fas Fuel, and one April 11 at Subway, which resulted in the arrest of a Rockford resident for aggravated robbery and robbery, he said.


The chief touched on a number of general matters including:

• Build-a-Bike being added to the department’s community policing program, which led to a bike being donated to one of the children in this area.

“That was fun,” he said.

• Completion of another Citizen’s Police Academy, for which there had been a great turnout. He thanked the aldermen and aldermen-to-be at that time for their attendance. Another academy is in the works, likely to be held in the fall.

• Anyone interested in a tour of the police department should call the office for an appointment. The non-emergency telephone number is 815-544-9626.

• The Fire and Police Commission has given the police department the flexibility to have an open, lateral hiring process.

“That means we don’t necessarily have to advertise in order to take applicants for the laterals,” he said. “That will make the process more efficient. But it doesn’t mean we won’t advertise, because there will be times when that is appropriate. Now we will be able to take applications even if a list (of candidates) has been generated.”

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